Moscow State Circus (2 stars)

This article is from 2009

Moscow State Circus

Backbends aplenty; smiles and spontaneity in short supply

The Moscow State Circus is full of extremely talented performers. High above the audience, Alexander Doktorov stands on his head, his hands and legs spread wide into the open air. Lots of people can do headstands, but I haven’t seen many executed on a trapeze which whirls around at a great height.

Bent backwards like a crab, Evgeniya Bortnikova can support the weight of two other performers while they put on a virtuoso display of poise and flexibility above her.

Valery Kashkin can put his trousers on while stood on a tightrope. He can play a mini-accordion, a trumpet and a drum-kit at the same time as playing the trombone with his toes.

It’s just a shame that the Moscow State Circus feels dated and a little drab in spite of the wonderful physical accomplishments on show. There is little slickness, less spontaneity and even fewer smiles, especially in a glum first half which dragged.

The performers got into it as their feats became more daring, but a bit of relish to their showmanship would have brightened the show greatly, and made the bad 80s music, the big 80s hair and the foul 80s lycra seem charming rather than just naff.

A bit of ‘Fuerzabruta’ flavoured modernisation would improve this immeasurably. Kids will enjoy it as it is, partly because so much of the second half looks terrifyingly dangerous. (Elliot Ross)

The Meadows Theatre Big Tops, until 31 Aug, times vary, £10-27 (£7-20).

Moscow State Circus: Gostinitsa

The internationally-acclaimed Russian circus troupe returns with ever more impressive acrobatics, clowning and aerial feats.

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