Madison Square Gardens is home to the big top with, Circus 1903: The Golden Age of Circus. For this event bring your children, let your imagination soar and watch mesmerizing high flying talent abound. Our Ringmaster is the sarcastic, effervesant Willy Whipsnade (David Williamson) tossing popcorn and one-liners quicker than the speed of light.
As the tent is magically brought to life, The Flying Fins, Arthur Ivankovich, Petter Vatermark, and AJ Saltalamacchia, acrobats who use a teeter totter to jump sky high to heights that look like you just entered the film Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. The trio back-flipped over each other and into mid air landing with precision. Up next the “Ballet of the bicycle” performed by the Cycling Cyclone (Florian Blummel), amazed.
The Elastic Dislocationist (Senayet Assefa Amara) was so limber, she could fold herself in two. All I could think of was, “wow she has to be great in bed and by the time she is 40 she is going to be riddled with arthritis. It was actually painful to watch.
As if by magic, the enchanted elegance of Lucky Moon, aerialist Elena Gatilova, showed us the grace of defying gravity. I found the Fratelli Rossi (Alejandro and Ricardo Rossi) rather enjoyable as they danced with fancy footwork and looked right out of another time.
Throwbacks to the Bearded Lady and Strong men are there to remind us of days gone by. However it is the elephants; a fully grown mother and her whimsical baby calf, Peanut. brought to “life” by the same puppeteers who gave us War Horse that amaze and bring back that child like wonder.
After the intermission Ringmaster Whipsnade brought to the stage four of the most adorable kids to delight and they almost stole the show with their antics. The Great Gaston (Francois Borie) brought oohs and aahhs from the audience and not just from his amazing speed of juggling. Both the men and the women were swooning over him, including the man behind me, who I though was going to faint in delight. Francois spun those pins behind his back, between his legs and into the air at a fervent pace.
To end the evening The Lopez Family delivered a truly defying high wire act. Riding unicycles, doing backflips and jumps that concluded with the sister doing a perfect split while suspended on a pole balanced between her brothers, all while suspended on a thin wire. Now this was high voltage!
Director Neil Dorward kept the show’s pace quick, allowing each act time to astonish. The set design by Todd Edward Ivins, was simple, yet brought us to another time and place. Angela Aaron’s impeccable recreations of turn-of-the-century circus performer costumes was perfection. However my favorite part of this whole show was the score, which perfectly set every scene. It was composed by Evan Jolly, who composed all of the music for The Illusionists shows, the TV show “The Crown” and the “Harry Potter” video games. I was so entranced I would of bought a CD right then and there.
Circus 1903 was magical, creative and entertaining. I have to admit I missed the lions, the tiger and bears, oh my. Maybe next time, the same spectacular puppets will allow us to remember all three rings. In the meantime this is a fun show for the entire family.
Circus 1903 The Golden Age of Circus: Madison Square Gardens through April 16.