Review: CIRCUS 1903 at Durham Performing Arts Center

By: Oct. 23, 2017

Ladies & gentlemen, for one week only, the circus is in town! The producers of the world's biggest magic show, The Illusionists have teamed up with the award winning puppeteers from War Horse to present a thrilling turn of the century circus spectacular. Sensational puppetry puts elephants back in the ring as never seen before along with a huge cast of the most unique, amazing and dangerous circus acts from all four corners of the world, from strong men to contortionists, acrobats to musicians, knife throwers, high wire and much more!

The show began touring late last year and set up a temporary home at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas back in July. While the show is still running in Vegas through the end of the year, the crew is taking a break to bring the show to Durham for the next week.

The show begins with ringmaster Willy Whipsnade (played very well by comedy magician David Williamson) entering onto the stage, catching the attention of everyone in audience. Circus 1903 offers up some great audience interactions. A lot of the acts presented on the stage of Durham Performing Arts Center through October 1st are impossible to take your eyes off of. I'm amazed by what these people do, I have no idea how any of them are done. There were several points throughout the night were I was almost worried that some of the acrobats were going to hurt themselves, but thank goodness they didn't.

A trio of continental daredevils known as the Flying Fins (Artur Ivankovich, Petter Vastermark, & Ilya Kotenyov) start off the night. Other highlights to me include Senayet Assefa Amara as the Elastic Dislocationist, who truly lives up to her name as she very skillfully flexes different parts of her body around. Florian Blummel pulls off some dangerous, yet amazing stunts as the Cycling Cyclone.

Visually stunning, epic, astonishing, and funny at times, Circus 1903 is a great night out where audiences get to go back in time to an amazing era of show business. You may never be able to find another show quite like this.


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