.Circus Flora shines again, with 'The Wizard'
BY CALVIN WILSON •
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Still going strong after all these years, Circus Flora opened its 26th season on Friday evening.
Its latest show, the energetic and crowd-pleasing “The Wizard: Merlin & the Legends of King Arthur,” proved to be a perfect fit for the circus’s irresistible blend of mirth and magic. The performance attracted more than 900 people to the Grand Center venue.
After remarks by artistic director and producer Ivor David Balding, Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, the stage was set for fast-paced fun. Clad in wizard garb, including a pointy hat, Cecil MacKinnon assumed her usual role as narrator. So what if the Arthurian theme could be stretched only so far? For true circus fans, this show is as close as it gets to Camelot.
Aerialist-acrobat Shayna Swanson mesmerized the crowd with her imaginative maneuverings of a hoop. Her command of its trajectory seemed almost telepathic, but no less fascinating than her ability to go with its flow as she spun around inside it.
The Flying Wallendas, internationally recognized as virtuosos of tightrope-walking, stylishly delivered their trademark brand of tension and release. It was impossible not to think of one of them falling, but just as impossible not to watch.
The young, homegrown St. Louis Arches thrilled the crowd with feats of exhilarating athleticism that mocked the laws of gravity.
Perhaps the most charming act was the Bertini Troupe, which got more creative mileage out of riding unicycles than one might imagine. It must be extremely difficult to juggle while skittering along on one wheel, but this act made it all look effortless.
Also turning in fine work were the dog act Luciano’s Pound Puppies, the aerial acts Laura Lippert and Aerial Mirror, the equestrian acts Riders of the Ring and Sasha Nevidonski, and the clown Giovanni Zoppé.
Circus Flora has become a St. Louis treasure. And as long as it gives us shows as wonderful as “The Wizard,” it's in no danger of losing its magic.
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