Prove your humanity

Roll up, roll up, welcome to the big top! The Great Moscow Circus is in town and if the creepy, giant inflatable clowns positioned around Perth aren’t enough to persuade you into purchasing a ticket, then maybe after you’ve finished reading this article you’ll be telling everyone you know. Who doesn’t love some affordable family fun?

Originating from Russia, The Great Moscow Circus first visited Australia in 1965 and has since continued to return to present their circus attraction every three to five years. This current tour premiered in Wollongong, New South Wales in May 2017 and with an all-new extreme show featuring two acts: Australia’s top motorbike trail riders ‘Flair Riders’ and a final death-defying act, ‘Globe Riders’. The show is bursting with talented performers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Columbia, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Australia.

The circus fleet of 26 caravans, 25 trucks, 12 clown cars and more, has left Burswood and set up camp at Belrose Park in Hillary’s on Thursday April 4 and will be staying put for the next two weeks. The Circus is an Edgley-Weber presentation consisting of 25 artists and 20 production team members are a proud family owned circus and I couldn’t wait to be impressed by their current two-hour show that has been dubbed in the media as ‘one of the most spectacular Great Moscow Circus productions ever’.

After emerging from the foyer tent, which was lit up with laser lights resembling a starry night sky, my dad and I entered the main tent filled with merchandise, food stalls, pony rides and a bouncy castle for the youngsters. Moments after being kindly shown to our seats, a booming voice echoed around the big top and the lights flickered off: “The show is about to start!”

The beautiful voice of Taylah Harrington fills the tent as she sung, ‘The Greatest Show’ (from the Hugh Jackman musical) backed up by dancers in glitzy red costumes. The opening parade gave a small taste of what was to be seen later in the show.

The first half started loud and reckless with the Flair Riders, who leaped into the ring and showcased their expert skills on the trial bikes. When little guy, Cruz Weber, rode into the ring on his miniature trail bike, the crowd roared with applause; the talented youngster a daredevil with a flair of cuteness.

The next line up of acts included the Russian Swing, with flipping acrobats who launched themselves from a swing into oblivion—thankfully, they landed into a safety net. The hoop and trapeze acts were equally as mesmerising, with the girls looking stunning in their sequin-studded costumes.

The circuses of the 19th century seen in movies such as Water for Elephants (2017), The Greatest Showman (2018) and Dumbo (2019) have changed to fit the modern era. Exploiting wild animals for the sake of human entertainment is no more, instead domesticated animals take the spotlight. Clearly well-looked after by their trainers, the six miniature horses were greeted with an adoring crowd ooh-ing and ahh-ing as they trotted in unison around the ring and jumped over tiny hurdles. There was also a pony who sat in a chair and dinged a bell when he was ready to order his meal. Misbehaving in front of his trainer caused the crowd to erupt and the little kids screeched in fits of laughter, he even lied down in a bed and pulled the blanket over himself. It’s incredible to see the intelligence of these animals, who look to be enjoying themselves––if there is a treat involved, of course!

In the breaks between acts, the hilarious Walison Clown––decked out in a red vest and matching Mohawk––provided temporary entertainment. His jokes, while corny at times, were funny enough to get the whole family laughing. The clown involved the audience, from adults to kids, where they made a fool of themselves down in the ring.

If you thought the Flair Riders were dangerous, wait till you see what the Circus has in store next!

Before a 20-minute intermission, a metal contraption called The Giant Wheel—which looked like something from the Middle Ages—was rolled onto the floor leaving the crowd in anticipation.

Everyone filed out to refuel on popcorn and fairy floss, all washed down with a sugary slushy. Kids begged their parents for a pony-ride or a plastic, light-up flashing wand and elderly grandparents stifled a yawn as the night wore on. It wasn’t long before everyone clambered back to their seats, thundering up the bleachers as the second half commenced.

The agile acrobats were back and energetic as ever as they bounced and tumbled around on the trampoline. They flung themselves into the air and were careful not to get in each other’s way. The highwire act was by far one of the most impressive stunts of the night.

The three talented performers walked across on each other’s shoulders, rode a bike and even stood on a chair, all on a thin piece of rope. Their mind-boggling performance left me stupefied. Intense concentration and perfect execution allowed them to make it through—the audience cheered them on until they disappeared into the smoke.

A contortionist, in her iridescent purple costume, had the crowd in the palm of her hands as she twisted and bent her body into unnatural positions. The aerialist silk act silenced onlookers—the only sound was the deafening applause as she finished her performance.

Perhaps the most daredevil performance of them all was the Globe Riders. I heard an audience member describe the cage and the cast as resembling the Mad Max films. Performers in military style clothing and fearsome masks covering their mouths entered the stage behind an entourage of dancers holding sticks of fire. One by one motorbike riders entered the metal sphere and unbelievably began to ride around inside simultaneously. I have no idea how the four riders pulled this off without colliding in such a confined space.

Lungs full of smoke and petrol fumes, the tired but star struck crowd made their way to the exit, as the show came to an end. While I wish there was more clowns and better quality background projections to accompany the acts, the show thoroughly exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend witnessing The Great Moscow Circus with your family and friends, there is truly something for everyone of all ages. It is obvious that a lot of effort and hard work goes into a production like this and this Circus deserves a great deal of appreciation and applause.

The Great Moscow Circus is at Belrose Park, Hillary’s until 14 April, and will head to GBSC Sports Park, Geraldton on 17 April. Tickets range from $25-55. For more info head to their website.