BWW Reviews: Circus Flora's Daring and Dazzling INGENIOSO Plays Through 6/27

By: Jun. 08, 2010

Last year was the first time I'd taken my son to see Circus Flora, and even though he was excited to go again, he's at the stage where he's a wee bit afraid of the dark. So, when the lights went down at the beginning of this year's show, Ingenioso, he freaked out a little. But, the charm of the performers, particularly the animal ones, quickly won him over and by the close of the night he was sporting a broad smile as we exited the tent. I think the fact that he got a great big hug from his favorite clown Nino (Giovanni Zoppe) certainly helped. And, it's that kind of warmth and good humor that you'll find on display here, along with a considerable amount of athleticism and grace.

This year the show is themed around The Man of La Mancha, and as such, Yo-Yo the narrator (Cecil Mackinnon) opens the action by introducing Carlos Svenson as Don Quixote, who sits tall in the saddle tilting at the windmill-themed scenery. Of course, any hint of seriousness is immediately tempered by Nino's arrival as Sancho Panza, following close behind on a miniature donkey. Throughout the evening, the basic tale is utilized to set the backdrop for a series of acts that are outfitted and loosely based around the theme, carrying the story forward to a satisfying conclusion.

After this amusing opening, Omar Chinibekov and the Riders of the Ring put on a spectacular display of stunts that were positively death-defying. One particular gag featuring a rider who slipped underneath a moving horse to resume his position from the other side was particularly unnerving to watch. Vince Bruce followed with some astounding rope twirling tricks that found him encircling himself and his horse while galloping along full stride.

My son perked up as Jenny Vidbel came into the ring followed by a collection of goats and dogs, as well as a dozen (my little boy made sure to count them) white welsh ponies. Vidbel guided these well trained animals through a series of maneuvers that tickled and delighted him, and the rest of the audience as well. A lovely pas de deux on the lyra by the Elliaire Duet came next, and then Alexandre Sasha Nevidonski presented us with a dazzling demonstration of his prowess as an equestrian aerialist. Julien Posada closed the first act, and his wire walking antics had a lusty Spanish flair that really fit the mood.

A few familiar faces from the first act started off the second before Erika and Andrew, collectively known as ADAMO, took their place above the circus floor, suspended in midair by two long strands of cloth that were wrapped around Andrew's arms. From this vantage point the pair then took on a number of poses that exposed their considerable strength and agility.

My boy's attention was grabbed almost immediately by the sudden appearance of the acrobatic troupe known as the the St. Louis Arches. When these kids perform there's a real sense of joy and fun in their antics, and that really carries through to the positive reception they receive. The Flying Pages then closed the night with a wonderful high-flying trapeze act that had the assembled crowd mesmerized.

Artistic director and producer Ivor Balding has assembled another irresistible offering with Ingenioso. and he's aided in his efforts by Hovey Burgess's work as dramaturg, Miriam Culter's flavorful compositions, Janine Del'Arte's musical direction, Sarah Pearline's scenic design, Christine Ferriter's lighting, Nina Reed's costumes, and the skilled work of tentmaster Erik Jaeger.

St. Louis has a treasure in Circus Flora, and the combined efforts of this talented and dedicated group of individuals deserves ample credit for all the hard work and imagination that goes into putting this show together.

Circus Flora's fun-filled production of Ingenioso continues through June 27, 2010.


Winners Revealed For The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards Photo
Winners Revealed For The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards

The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards winners were announced Friday, May 26 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Interview: Luis Salgado of AIDA at STAGES St. Louis In The Ross Family Theater At The Kirk Photo
Interview: Luis Salgado of AIDA at STAGES St. Louis In The Ross Family Theater At The Kirkwood Performing Arts Center

Last year, Luis Salgado directed and choreographed IN THE HEIGHTS at STAGES St. Louis. It was among the most critically acclaimed productions of the year in St. Louis. His production was recognized with 11 St. Louis Critics Circle nominations and six wins including Outstanding Production, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Choreography. This year, Salgado returns to STAGES St. Louis to direct and choreograph AIDA which opens on Wednesday, June 7th in the Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. Broadway World had the opportunity to sit down today to talk with Salgado about the production, his creative team, and who has influenced him to become the powerhouse director and choreographer he has become.

Review: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at The Marcelle Theatre Photo

New Line Theatre’s production of A FUNNY THING HAPPENS ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM succeeds due to Scott Miller’s directorial vision and the comedic timing of Miller’s strong cast. There are plenty of laughs in the First Act, but the second act builds to a crescendo of complete hilarity. Miller’s blocking and the actors’ execution of  the Second Act chase scene is downright madcap. Ann Hier Brown’s delivery of “That Dirty Old Man,” Kent Coffel and Chris Moore’s delivery of “Lovely,” and the Company’s collaboration on “Funeral Sequence” keeps the audience laughing nonstop following the intermission. The remaining cast Jason Blackburn, Danny Brown, Gary Cox, Robert Doyle, Nathan Hakenewerth, Brittany Kohl Hester, Aarin Kamphoefner, Ian McCreary and Sarah Wilkinson rely on their deadpan delivery and comedic timing to deliver big laughs throughout the show.

Review: GLORIA: A LIFE at Wool Sutdio Theatre Photo
Review: GLORIA: A LIFE at Wool Sutdio Theatre

Jenni Ryan gives a magnificent performance as Steinem. She paints Steinem with human vulnerability. Her characterization elicits audience empathy as she exposes the incertitude Steinem experienced in her early work. Ryan illustrates Steinem finding her voice and ultimately demonstrates Steinem’s maturation to a confident activist who raises issues without fear. It is commendable that Ryan stepped into the role just a week before opening night due to a last-minute casting change and delivered a solid performance.

From This Author - Chris Gibson


#repshow# in[i]# Vampire Lesbians of Sodom
Stray Dog Theatre (6/08-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Twelfth Night
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival (5/31-6/25)
#repshow# in[i]# The Years
The Chapel (7/13-7/29)
#repshow# in[i]# Gloria: A Life
The J's Wool Studio Theatre (6/01-6/18)
#repshow# in[i]# A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
New Line Theatre at the Marcelle (6/01-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# The Nerd
Moonstone Theatre Company (7/06-7/23)

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