Reviewer: Paul Downham
The show is based on the legend of the 12 chairs; back in 1927 a former nobleman who worked as a humble desk clerk was told by his Grandmother about family jewellery that had been hidden from the Bolsheviks in one of 12 chairs from the family’s dining room set. The show revolves around clowns Pavlik and Klava hunting out these chairs in order to recover the treasure.
beginning slowly with a pre recorded narrative and poor choreography explaining the story to the surprisingly quiet audience. Once this is out of the way the cast begin to shine with Yana Alievia performing on a revolving aerial chandelier and the mesmerising Flying Veslovski who were simply an outstanding roller skating troupe. The highlight of the first half was unsurprisingly the final act Shmandrovskiys a quick change duo. Their lightening quick changes were as good if not better than any I have seen before.
Continuing after the interval the pace quickens somewhat and with that the show becomes a much more enjoyable watch. An extremely clever interpretation of the ‘sawing a lady’ in half trick brought a lot of head scratching from the audience myself included. The 12 chairs made their appearance towards the end of the second half as part of a tentative balancing act that reached high up to the Lowry’s proscenium arch to reclaim the one chair with the hidden treasure within.
The true stars of this entire performance were The Whirlwind Rubsovs, a four piece juggling act that filled the stage with flying clubs in all directions. Their illuminated routine on the vertical poles and upside down juggling was worth the admission price alone.
You can never really match circus in its traditional setting of the Big Top and some of the aerial acts suffered as a result of being squeezed into a stage setting. The other problem with the show was the lack of enthusiasm from the audience who were very reserved and the company at the curtain call struggled to encourage enough applause to warrant an encore.
All in all an enjoyable show which does not fail in taking your breath away at certain points but sadly does not match up to previous productions from this talented company.
The Moscow State Circus runs until the 26th February 2013