The Great Benjamins Circus raised its big top in Falher on July 27, putting on two shows at 4pm and 7pm.
While many may think we have grown too jaded or too sophisticated for the circus, I doubt that the aura around the travelling circus will ever entirely lose its sense of magic and allure, especially for children.
The quintessential opening scenario of many a romantic, adventurous story is with the main protagonist running away with the circus.
It is the an enduring archetype of an exciting, bohemian life but not an isolated one as there is the fraternity of the circus family, a society that historically also accepted those that mainstream society rejected.
The sheer scale of logistics and coordination required to put on a show is remarkable.
To roll into town and with military precision, raise the big top, put all the necessary apparatus in place, produce high-risk, well choreographed performances and then strike the entire menagerie and roll on down the highway to the next town and the next performance is an impressive conjuring act in itself.
We have so much novel entertainment with electronics but whether it’s 3D, virtual or interactive, ultimately it is flat and sterile, lacking any texture or tangible dimension.
While the spectacle provided by the circus may be somewhat time-worn, a little frayed around the edges perhaps, but that simply adds a poetic element to the show.
Besides, the circus is a live, classic form of entertainment and like live music and live theatre its authenticity cannot be replaced or replicated by anything artificial, so it can never be rendered obsolete.
As was clear to see on July 27, for children the circus is still a mesmerizing spectacle but whether child or adult to sit on the risers around the circus ring, purely as a spectator, is still great entertainment.
The kids appeared to enjoy all the performances but the Chaplinesque clown with the classic funny and forlorn routine certainly won over not just the kids but the entire audience.
The inebriated pirate with his acrobatic antics on the trampoline also received an enthusiastic response as did the two jugglers who were remarkably skilful working in unison.
While there were perhaps a little too many trapeze acts, each individual performer did however bring their own distinctive style, and with their particular well choreographed contortions, all showed great stamina and athleticism.
The “Wheel of Destiny,” is a large mesh wheel that reached approximately thirty-five feet into the air, and while rotating on an axle, a lone performer did various acrobatics inside the wheel as it rotated.
That the performer floundered twice, added drama to the performance and really demonstrated how real the risks can be.
With the “Russian Swing” routine, the audience witnessed performers being propelled into the air, doing various in-flight acrobatics and summer salts, one through a hoop place high at the top of the circus tent, before landing on a net below.
The Great Benjamins Circus, a third generation circus family that from Mexico certainly fills the void of being a non-animal circus by keeping up a steady momentum and faced paced show with clowns, juggling, acrobats and daredevils acts.