Saturday, November 13, 2010

The circus can be a great place to sleep

This blog exists to encourage the arts – performing arts beyond anything else. Which is why I decided to dedicate my Saturday afternoon to the Rambo Circus in Reclamation  grounds. My friend was quite keen on going as well so we allowed her two-year-old to accompany us so our presence would have some credibility.

“What a spectacular performance,” I would like to say. But even calling it a “spectacle” won’t cut it. Not this time round anyway. While the show had some good moments, the overall experience left me disappointed. The sound system was loud and so badly connected that we couldn’t understand a single word the narrator was booming into the mic.

The acts – you see them once, you’ve seen them all. There was an over-doze of acrobats, mostly women who were either balancing beams (falling off occasionally) or attempting to juggle large foam objects using their feet. Even the clowns couldn’t salvage the situation with their jokes because their voices were completely incomprehensible in the hum of music and scratchy speakers.

There were some good moments though – an American rope dancer goofily swinging to a Bollywood tune, African acrobats jugging each other around, and the daring young acrobats on flying trapezes. Its all about timing here and you couldn’t help ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ in wonderment as these acts really went with their instincts (and the knack for timing that only come with years of practice).

The Rambo Circus calls itself an “international circus festival” and with acts from the US, Nepal and Africa they technically are. But overall, most of the acts lacked poise, punch and the most important thing of all -- enthusiasm.

We had to leave before the show got over. Our two-year-old fell asleep. And a look at our watches told us that we’d been watching almost identical performances for over two hours. All our old favourites were gone – the lion tamers, the fire eaters, the clowns who love bouncing up and down trampolines? An elephant playing cricket is cute, but does it make the cut?

Most disappointing was the set up because it was tacky, stage hands didn’t even try to be subtle about their presence on stage and unenthusiastic clowns tried their best to distract the crowd from seeing all of this before going, whom are we kidding?

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