Big Apple Circus: A Review
The holiday season is in full swing in New York City. The tree has come to Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes are at Radio City Music Hall, and The Nutcracker is arriving at Lincoln Center. These are all perennial treats for New Yorkers and the tourists that visit during this most magical time of year. However, of all the holiday happenings only one shines under a blue big top tent. The wonder and marvel that is the Big Apple Circus has come home once more in its all new forty first edition.
One of the things that makes this circus special is that every seat is a great seat. There’s one ring and that affords for a very intimate experience of a very big show. The Big Apple Circus Band, as conducted by Rob Slowik, is of course in full swing and this year the circus is led by ringmaster Stephanie Monseu. She’s tall, alluring, and in complete command of a stellar high energy extravaganza. Assisting in keeping things moving along are the clowning duo of Mark Gindick and Adam Kuchler. Throughout the show they juggle, play full body musical bells, and work the crowd well between headliners.
This edition’s cadre of entertainers include the balancing thrills of Emil Faltyny on the free-standing ladder and Victor Moiseev performs an eerie and mesmerizing horizontal juggling act that is black light magic. Ihosvanys Perez and Virginia Tuells, the husband and wife team of Duo Fusion, perform amazing feats of physical body to body hand to hand balancing. She’s billed as the world’s strongest mom and there’s good reason why. Returning once more and drawing grand performances from her cast of horses, ponies, and dogs is Big Apple Circus veteran performer Jenny Vidbel. Her animals perform with great joy and the little ones in the crowd always love them. Perhaps this positive give and take energy comes from the fact that her team consists of animals she has rescued herself.
Pure thrills come from several sources during the two-act show. Performing Desire of Flight on the aerial straps are Valeriy Sychev and Ekaterina Stepanova in a beautifully breathtaking flying pas de duex. Duel trampolines with a tall wall of open scaffolding between them become the playground for the flying gymnastics of the thrilling team of known as Spicy Circus. What has become the traditional net set up introduces the Flying Tunizianis. Trapeze artists are considered circus royalty and this act delivers the skill, entertainment, and drama that earns them the title. Their risky hit or miss attempt at the quadruple somersault, which was successful at this performance, is well worth the price of admission.
The story of the Big Apple Circus is one of endurance and perseverance. No matter the odds they always remain true to the axiom that the show must go on. Like the citizens of the city that bears its name the Big Apple Circus is stalwart and determined to succeed. That steadfast commitment has built a well-earned reputation of producing great entertainment and this year’s edition serves as proof that the Big Apple Circus is alive and well.
Edward Medina is an active member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), where he serves on both the Membership and Diversity & Inclusion Committees. He is also a Drama Desk member. Edward welcomes comments at EdwardMedinaAuthor@gmail.com.
Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park
60 Lincoln Center Plaza
New York, NY 10023
October 20, 2018 - January 27, 2019