LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Friday, 13 April 2012

Cirque du Ciel Review

The Chinese circus tradition is more than 2000 years old, but all the old routines like hand balancing and contortionism, double Chinese poles and hat juggling come up like new again in ShangHi, the exciting new theatre show from Cirque du Ciel.
Directed by Zhang Wan who worked with Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Caron on an earlier version of the show called Magical Musical Box, ShangHi has a slender storyline: a sleeping girl dreams of watching and joining in with acrobats. But the stunts come thick and fast against a projected backdrop of swirling colours and a loud, westernised soundtrack given extra energy by a tireless onstage drummer.
Two highlights both feature foot juggling. The men juggle with each other in hip-hop clothes in the first scene that really gets the crowd excited. The women juggle with drums which they also play.
The skill level is high, the large cast routines are slickly choreographed and the glittering costumes are attractive in this high energy show which is touring the UK until August 25.
But what is the history of the Chinese circus and its influence on western circus? The answers can be found in Circus Mania, by Douglas McPherson, which goes behind the scenes of the Chinese State Circus as well as cutting edge cirque shows such as Cirque du Soleil and Cirque de Glace, traditional big top circuses and hybrids like the Circus of Horrors to discover the traditions, superstitions and secrets of the circus breed.

Described by the Mail on Sunday as “A brilliant account of a vanishing art form,“ Circus Mania retails at £14.99, To save £5 off the recommended retail price and buy Circus Mania at the special offer price of just £10 postage-free, send cheques to:Peter Owen Publishers
81 Ridge Road
London N8 9NP
Or telephone 020 8350 1775 to buy what World’s Fair called “The Greatest Show On Earth In A Book!”

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