The Carnival of Lost Souls
by Graham Coupland
Reginald Theatre Seymour Centre
Photos by Brig Bee
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
When the show opened, it looked like “Zombie Apocalypse Meets Ashton’s Circus”.
A 19th century, gothic circus noir theme is the setting for some highly-skilled circus performers, a magician (Richard Vegas), a pair of amazing singers, a couple of dancers and a burlesque performer (Mimi Le Noire), with a total cast of twelve showing what they can do for the Ringmaster.
Many of the usual circus and magic bits are there. The high hoop, the long ribbons, the linking rings, the floating table and the acrobatics all make a showing, with the death-defying stunts being limited only by the height of the ceiling.
A delightful surprise is the singing duo of Aurora Kurth and Anthony Craig who tell the story of the unrequited love of a young, sad clown for a gypsy fortune-teller. Their impressive voices, accompanied by original and haunting background music provide highlights.
“This Side Up” is three-man troupe that displays total trust in their interdependent balancing skills and strength. It’s the type of act that German tourists wish they could do on a beach.
I was in awe of the bewilderingly flexible circus skills of Malia Walsh who performs the really, really difficult revolving triple cylinder teeter board as well as balancing on three sets of wine glasses atop a rolling cylinder. At one point, her body is used as a skipping rope. How much time does Walsh spend stretching before the show?
Adding to the spectacle is the costuming of Clockwork Butterfly.
It’s pleasing to see that old school circus is still alive and is made even more interesting by combining the elements of other performing arts.