Circus Flora's Time Flies in its 31st Season

Grand Avenue (just behind Powell Hall)
Saint Louis

Runs June 1-25, 2017

Reviewed by Joan Leyden

Step into the indigo blue cool under the Big Tent, where a charmingly bespangled clown descends on a low trapeze to invite you into a make-believe world with a story that has as its hero a frustrated, would-be rainmaker. His journey encompasses such marvels as travel across time; a dancing Arabian horse; magical objects that seem to float in mid-air; the death-defying feats of two famous circus families, one on the high wire, the other on the trapeze; and a tidal wave of accomplished youngsters (as young as 12) in acrobatic/juggling and balancing expositions. (The kids LOVED this troupe, the St. Louis Arches, and tried out some of their movements at intermission.) All these acts, and more, are skillfully woven into this delightful story, which is stirringly enhanced by the music of the live Circus Flora Band.

The old and modern joys of circus are on view here, raised to the level of performance art, drawing some of its inspiration from Cirque du Soleil and from images that seem to spring from Italian movies, Romanian gypsies, and children’s storybooks. Principally, Circus Flora is indebted to the traditions of the Eastern European circus. We are happily in the presence of remembered history here, with its on-going tradition of circus families, aerialists, and trapeze artists, who are now using techniques daringly developed over centuries. Even this clown is a special gift from Shakespeare.

Everyone loves a circus and Circus Flora is a circus to love. It owes much of its appeal to its talented cast of every age: to its awareness of the interests and enthusiasms of children; to its developing younger generation of performers; to its handsome men and beautiful women, many of whom have multiple gifts; and to the entire creative staff for their distinguished and memorable work. I especially loved the inclusion of the familiar animals beloved to children: a miniature horse; two pygmy goats, a paint pony, and a red rooster!

Circus Flora is fun, it is thrilling, and it is often quite beautiful. It offers innocence and sophistication, and will gladden your heart, I promise you.

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