After two very successful tours to the Auckland and Wellington regions in 2006 and 2007, the Magic Circus of Samoa is expanding its 2008 tour to perform in seven North Island venues between February 15 and May 18. Starting in Hastings/Napier, the tour will then visit Porirua, Hutt City, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Hamilton & Manukau City.
"The excitement and fun-filled magic circus is the most entertaining family show to tour New Zealand", says impresario Tupa'i Bruno Loyale. The 2008 tour will also include French Polynesia, New Caledonia and, of course, Samoa.
The Magic Circus 2008 features several unique performances by Samoan and other Pacific Islands' performers plus extraordinary acts from Cuba, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay to supplement the Pacific Islands cultural flavour and give the show a truly international character. Each show is two full hours of exciting, fast-moving and breathtaking aerial and acrobatic acts, hilarious clowns, foot juggling, mystifying magic, head and hand balancing, Latin and Samoan dancing, juggling and the death-defying globe of death with four riders at one time.
Shows start after 7pm daily with matinees on Saturdays at 2pm.* The Magic Circus of Samoa - fantastic entertainment, laughter galore and great wholesome fun for the entire family, especially the children! Adult tickets are $18; Children under 12, $12 and a Family Pass for 2 adults and 3 children is $60.
* Note: Times may vary. Be sure to check your local paper for details.
It was a good start to see a huge line waiting to buy tickets as my son and I arrived at 7.15pm to get seating. Since we had arranged tickets earlier, we were able to bypass the 20 minute wait time and head straight in for our ringside seats. After about 15 minutes the lights dimmed and the usual "No flash photos, no video cams etc." recorded message played, with a bit of a comedic twist this time which set the tone for the evening and had the audience in giggles. (I'll leave you to hear it for yourself. )
The show started with a rollerskating duo act from Havana, Cuba... and progressed through 9 acts until Intermission. Some of the highlights of the first session included the Samoan jugglers. A mixed pair who swapped places while juggling, shared a juggle (juggling a set of batons with one hand each, while using the other hand each to juggle hats! Stunningly difficult to keep track of, like patting your head and rubbing your belly in circles at the same time.) The Cuban hand-balancer was also quite impressive, as he balanced on his head atop a set of specially reinforced bongo drums, while playing them at the same time! Another highlight was the Brazilian aerobatic duo. It takes a lot of skill and strength to make the aerial straps look smooth and effortless with just one person, but for the duo... it was stunning.
By far the biggest highlight for me was the Rope Jumpers. Sure, it's like an 8-person double-dutch team, but what made it stunning for me was the strong-man act built in. One chap, skipping rope while carrying 3 women around his waist, and then again with two people standing on each other shoulders, on his shoulders... and add in the pyramid of 6 people, with the bottom 3 having to co-ordinate not only with the rope, but with each other... an awesome display of skill and teamwork.
The second half started off with a pair of tumblers, throwing each other around like rag dolls. Quite impressive show of skill, but it was clear they wished they had picked a stronger member of the audience to assist, when the stack collapsed and the big fellow was clearly massaging his thumb joint, which had twisted badly as he fell. Them's the breaks in the circus job tho, and they finished the act without further trouble. Sign of true professionals.
Another 8 acts followed this one, again with some choice highlights. The comedy tumbling act was brilliant, had the audience in hysterics... except for the poor fellow next to me, who became the focus of attention for the cross-dresser character. (Could have been worse, could have been the man in diapers who batted his eyelids at the chap!)
Another of the highlights (for my son at least) was the clown 'knife throwing' act. Hint to any reporters or reviewers who go to this show... Don't let the ringmaster see you typing or writing! Because I was doing that, I got 'volunteered' to be strapped to the target board and get blindfolded. (OK, so I figured out the clown wasn't REALLY throwing the knives, because they felt wrong as they hit the board, but it was fun to play along and do the whole 'worried for the sanctity of my flesh' routine to keep the show going smoothly.)
By far the biggest highlight was the finale... the Globe of Death! Start off with a single rider looping around, then up-and-over as well! Then stick a second rider inside, then a third, and finally a fourth! There was so little room inside that each rider was protected from the rider in front only by the thickness of the exhaust fumes! Only one other act in the world has managed to fit 4 riders into a globe 14" (4.6m) in diameter, and they are stuck in Las Vegas, so at the moment, this is the only 4-bike act in the Southern Hemisphere! My son came up with a great description... "It's like a swarm of bees in a metal hive!"
Overall, a great circus, and if you see this circus coming, you'd be wise to hold for this over any others passing through. My only tiny gripe with this show came right at the end, ironically with the highlight of the whole show... the Globe of Death. Great spectacle, but it sucks to be breathing in the fumes! Ventilation could be somewhat improved by dropping one section of the tent's outer wall I think... I left with a major headrush from the show, and a minor headache from the exhaust smell.
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