Though hardly as death-defying or mind-blowing as typical modern circus theater, Circus Claire’s injection of innocence and playfulness will easily win over children and the child-at-heart.
Running the gamut of circus acts, combined with dance, pop music and a few special guests, Circus Claire is an expansive showcase of physical talent and tongue-in-cheek performance. The hook – Claire‘s persona – is the main point of difference; charmingly naive and played joyfully, even before the show starts you’ll bear witness her blonde-bobbed, spandex-clad glory as she wanders the bleachers and introduces herself to each member of the audience.
The show’s script serves mostly as an opportunity for Claire to spin tales of her dashing, adventurous life as a multi-talented artist, retracing lost loves and life’s tribulations. The basic premise seems aimed at children and charms them with little trouble, but for adults it can be a hard sell – thankfully Claire is well written and plays out like a delightfully demented homage to Muriel’s Wedding, complete with ABBA soundtrack; despite initial appearances of being a little too simple, there’s subtle layers of melancholic and melodramatic humour beneath. Set and effects are a plain affair, driving focus on Claire’s antics and delivery – relying on them perhaps a little too heavily – but the combination of the two still holds attention. Audience participation is alive and well, so be warned (or get excited, your preference)!
If the group of children queuing up for post-show photos and hugs is any indication, Circus Claire is a definite success with its target audience – a quick win for families. Though adults in the crowd are unlikely to come away from Claire with much to write home about, for those who’ve never before experienced circus theater it’s a solid introduction for both kids and adults alike.
Reviewed by Jason Lomas
This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the performance on May 15.