Two nights ago my children and I ventured into Boston to the historic and lovely old Wang Theater (now called the Boch Center) to see the circus. The circus? Yes! Circus 1903! More “Cirque de Soleil” than Ringling Brothers, this show imagines how the circus used to be.
But instead of clowns and trick ponies and dancing bears, the audience is treated with acrobats; “foot juggling” (think acro-yoga times 1000); aerialists tossing each other through the air (“is he really going to catch her by her ankles?!?”); a gorgeous aerial hoop performance by a former rhythmic gymnastics world champion who, like some of her fellow performers, has previously performed with Cirque de Soleil; and a spectacular juggler.
We can’t leave out the Cycling Cyclone, who inspires me to get my single-speed bike…working again, at least. I will not be doing handstands while cycling backwards anytime soon. Or the balancing guy, “The Sensational Sozonov,” who I kind of expected to come tumbling down at any second. Bikes also appeared in the Los Lopez highwire act, which practically started with someone riding a bike across a highwire while another person got on the stunt pegs and then did a handstand on the handlebars…and it went from there (“Mom! I have stunt pegs on my bike!” “Child, I’m so glad you’re inspired. What are you going to start practicing first?”).
That’s the beauty and reality of a circus on opening night. You get the sense that things are still being perfected, which makes it beautifully real. I think there was an actual stumble or two during the show overall, a great reminder to all of us that these performers work hard and have to practice.
While the show does have something of a storyline, I was too caught up in the physical feats to notice. The ringmaster occasionally called children up on stage. I’d say that encouraging your children to get on stage might not be ideal for kids under age 6 unless they handle surprises and strangers well and have a good sense of humor.
As for humor, my older child found the show amazing and hilarious (when it was funny); my younger son didn’t seem to notice the humor, but he was still mesmerized by the show.
Oh! The elephants! How could I not tell you about them? The elephants are life-sized, a mother and a baby! They look very real, but they are entirely human-powered. They are so beautiful that I wanted to cry. They are moved and supported entirely by puppeteers. You should go see Circus 1903 if only to see the elephants (though you’ll be delighted to all the show has to offer).
The show only runs through March 12, so don’t miss your chance! Go this weekend! I have a discount code for you. See below.
Save 25% on tickets to see CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus at the Boch Wang Theatre! Visit http://www.bochcenter.org/buy/show-listing/circus-1903 and enter code MOMS to buy your discounted tickets. Discount applies to all performances, while supplies last. Valid on all levels, excluding Orchestra Pit.