Kids in London - Something for everyone at the Yin Yang Chinese State Circus

KimT's London for Kids Blog

The audience (spanning diddlies to granddads) at Richmond Theatre were treated tonight to the UK premiere of the new Yin Yang production of the Chinese State Circus.

Now whilst some may prefer to be in a traditional circus tent, our current chilly weather made me truly glad that we were warm inside. And it was just what we needed to cheer us up after the return to school after half term.

The kids “kitted up” with light whirlygigs from the foyer and at 8pm sharp the stage exploded with a young female Escala-esque quartet playing a mixture of Chinese and Western instruments in a rousing introduction to the members of the team. There were big smiles all round – on stage and in the audience.

First up were guys dressed in rich red and gold who bounced up tall poles and slid down again with the ease and agility of monkeys. Breathtaking. A sunshine-yellow-clad Chinese clown (much less scary than the Western variety) made his first appearance and entranced the kids by throwing popcorn at them.

I was mesmerised by the 10 girls in pink sparkly costumes who combined spinning eight plates each on long canes while performing an incredible range of acrobatic routines. They were so graceful.

The music became somewhat more dance oriented as a group of guys – looking remarkably like leprechauns in their bright green outfits - did some hat juggling, even at the top of a human pyramid. De Bono would have been proud.

There was a woman juggling parasols with her feet before that clown enticed a gentleman from the audience (who will no doubt never shake off the name “Skipping Guy”) to entertain us. Four girls in white frocks with more than a resemblance to that Marilyn dress did some neat drumming work.

Then it was time for the first appearance of my heroes of the show – the Shaolin warriors. These guys are super-fast and super-strong and their warm up routine for daring feats with spears and swords and fighting-so-fast-it’s- almost-a-blur looked a bit like street dancing on steroids – a whirl of action. Girls with long feathers on their heads – creating a mental image of delicate dancing peacocks – did formation diablo work.

After the interval and some more of those musicians, there were skipping feats (combined with acrobatics and more human pyramids) to a decidedly blue grass beat. Those Shaolins returned and I admit that I had to turn away as various items were broken on bodies, they balanced on knife points and were struck while on a bed of nails. And some more fighting for good measure.

The dragons (or were they lions or dogs?) dancing around acrobats were charming. Then that clown persuaded four male volunteers (including “Skipping Guy”) onto the stage and we laughed as they did some excellent balancing. There were roars of approval and support from the audience. Guys literally jumped through hoops – extremely fast - and Then another group of girls spun roundels and cones on their feet whilst they spun.

It’s clearly a new production – there were a few times when things were dropped (although the audience cheered louder when the repeat went according to plan) but that added to the fun. It was a marvellous way to get lost for a couple of hours in jaw-dropping wonder at the physical agility, the team precision, the elegance and the spectacle. And I marvelled at the inspired fusion of ancient Chinese tradition with scintillating circus skills wrapped up in elegance with music and combat thrown in. What more could you want? But you’d better hurry as the show is only in Richmond tomorrow before taking off for a UK tour.

For further information: UK tour dates

Posted Date
Feb 25, 2013 in KimT's London for Kids Blog by KimT
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