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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Circenses, Circus Ronaldo



CIRCENSES: An old-fashioned big top on Wellington's waterfront from Belgium's Circus Ronaldo. EWEN COLEMAN

from: stuff.co.nz

02/03/2012

Waitangi Park until March 18 Reviewed by Ewen Coleman

After the unfortunate postponement of the opening night, Circenses – the Ronaldo family circus from Belgium – finally performed last night to rapturous applause in Waitangi Park.
Part of the Ronaldo family's philosophy behind their circus is to present it very much like circuses used to be and for it to be as much theatre as circus, both of which are very evident.
Old-fashioned in look and style, with many elements of Commedia dell'arte, burlesque and slapstick, it is as much about the way they perform as to what they perform.
There is little in the way of amazing feats or acts with the usual string of juggling, knife throwing, tight-rope walk and the incompetent clown figure who in fact is the most proficient performer of all. Yet somehow the lack of awesome acrobatics is made up for by the sheer versatility that each of the Ronaldo family is able to bring to the show: from grandparents Johnny and Maria to the young grandchildren Nanosh and Pepijn.
And then there is the added dimension of the audience seeing the show from both out front and backstage. After the interval the audiences change places. Those sitting watching the performances in the first half go and sit backstage for the second half seeing what goes into making the show work while those watching the off stage antics in the first half now see how it all comes together in performance in the second half.
Not an original idea and at times the goings on backstage became drawn out and appeared to be filling in while waiting for the act out front to finish. Yet it was obvious that the Ronaldo family are very skilled performers indeed, and that through all the confusion and chaos that went on backstage and often translated out the front their timing was impeccable: their years of working together have made them a very cohesive and proficient group of ensemble players.
So, while overall Circenses may not be quite up to what the publicity makes it out to be, it is nevertheless different, entertaining and well worth seeing.

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