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Friday, March 8, 2013

BPAC performance to showcase theater, circus arts
from:  commercialappeal.com
By Mark Jordan
March 7, 2013
Cole Schneider of the Colorado-based theater company Handsome Little Devils promises Mid-South audiences have never seen anything quite like the group’s current touring production, “the Squirm Burpee Circus,” which plays at the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center Friday night.
“It’s definitely unique,” says Schneider of the show, which comes here after recent stops in Macomb, Illinois, and Columbia, Tennessee. “We had a huge audience and very mixed crowd in Macomb. There were lots of families, and it seemed to be well received.”
Brothers Mike and Dan Huling founded Handsome Little Devils as their street performing name in 2000. In 2006, the group took the act indoors with the creation of “the Squirm Burpee Circus.”
Schneider describes “the Squirm Burpee Circus” as a “Vaudevillian melodrama,” a term which doesn’t come close to encapsulating the wide range of theater and circus arts on display. The outward form of the production will be familiar to anyone acquainted with old silent movies or even the 1960s cartoons of Jay Ward, including Rocky & Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right. At its heart is a story featuring good guys (Mike Huling, Dave Clay), a damsel in distress (the Lovely Little Lola, usually portrayed by Schneider who will be taking the night off Friday to stage manage while Lara Chamberlain fill in on stage), and a mustache-twisting villain, the Baron Vegan von Hamburger (Brett Alters).
“When we decided to expand the company we wanted to do a show that had a story line,” says Schneider. “We wanted it to still be vintage and different, and we didn’t want it to be too dramatic or serious. So the format that just seemed to naturally evolve was the melodrama, partly because it’s so cartoonish and our show is like seeing a cartoon in real life.”
The theatricality, however, is mere set-up for a show that combines the best parts of the musical theater and the circus in one. Besides lots of singing and dancing, “the Squirm Burpee Circus” features chainsaw juggling, slapstick comedy, paddleball and unicycle tricks, a human cannonball, and audience participation, all presented in a very stylish manner.
Since its debut, “the Squirm Burpee Circus” has enjoyed an off-Broadway run and recently was featured in the Cleveland Children’s Festival. The Handsome Little Devils are also currently working with the New York theater company Cirque Innosta to develop a new show that combines comedy music called, “Conjure.”
read more:
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2013/mar/07/bartlett-performance-to-showcase-theater-circus/

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