Those who have driven past Bonython Park recently would have noticed the extraordinary, intricate and elaborate large white circus tent, known as the "Big Top", with stars and streaks of blue yellow and green. This tent has been home to the bright and colourful Circus Rio, who have come to Adelaide for the very first time, calling Bonython Park their home since April 5. This means that their season is the longest a circus has remained in Adelaide for, and while Circus Rio features the usual circus acts, it still is fun and exciting and provides much entertainment for both children and parents; what happens under that "big top" is most magical.
Produced and directed by previous international circus performer Yuriy Abrosimov, Circus Rio is completely absent from animal performances, and features only human acts, featuring international performers from each corner of the globe. This circus is an eclectic fusion of juggling, contortion, acrobatics, aerial acts, clowning, freestyle motocross (FMX), grand illusion, and trapeze. Patrons are advised, however, that some of these acts are subject to last-minute changes without notice, due to unforeseen circumstances, as was the case for the performance reviewed, due to previous unfortunate circumstances. In addition to these traditional circus acts, in an attempt to replicate the colour and vibrancy of the Carnivale atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro, and to remain true to their name, Circus Rio also features occasional Samba dancing with female dancers in incredible and elaborate jewelled costumes with large coloured feathers, costumes which are truly something to behold, and ones which don't usually feature in a circus.
For the evening performance reviewed, it was very unfortunate that the cold and miserable winter weather meant that the audience was very low in number and that the true circus atmosphere was lacking, therefore, but this was by no fault of the circus production team. Nonetheless, each performer still performed to their absolute best ability, and were outstanding, demonstrating exceptional talent. Their hard work and dedication to ensure that their performance is the best it can be, is most evident. The acts presented were entertaining and breathtaking to watch, in such a way, that the intermission came upon me as a surprise, as I was so engrossed in the action. While each performer is exceptional, one stand out performer is entertainer Isaac Salter, whose solo performance on the "Chinese pole" is most engaging to watch. Salter also serves as the primary entertainer before the show begins and during the intermission, interacting with guests and finding ways to make them laugh and smile. His friendly and enthusiastic charisma and evident experience in clowning makes him a very suitable fit for this entertainer role. This role adds a nice extra element to the circus, one which is not usually present, and he ensures that guests are entertained and comfortable at all times.
circus entertainer Isaac Salter, performing on the Chinese pole
Although there is a diverse range of acts, what is most memorable, is the acrobatic duo acts. These sorts of acts require both performers to be so trusting of their partner, and it is the case with this circus, that each performer had beautiful chemistry with their performance partner, and the trust they have for each other is most evident, making the acts truly beautiful to witness, and a joy to watch. The decision to have the performers give each other an occasional high five throughout one of the casual acrobatic acts, was a suitable choice, as it helped to reinforce this point of absolute trust. However, this trust and chemistry between performers is most evident in the elegant and graceful dance number in the first half of the show, it is truly a beautiful act to witness.
If I am to provide some critical commentary though, it would be that while this circus is well produced and has entertaining acts, the design of the big top and its tiered seating, means that the FMX act can sometimes be very difficult to see. As such, this should be an act which is reserved for outside performances only. Additionally, the performers for the grand illusion act, could benefit from more enthusiasm and elaborate choreography.
Flash photography is not permitted during the show, but patrons are permitted to take photos without flash. Patrons also have the opportunity to meet the circus performers on stage at the conclusion of the show and have photos with them, so ensure you don't forget your camera. This opportunity is something unique which is not usually offered at the circus, so don't miss your chance to capture a photo to cherish for years to come.
It can sometimes be very easy to forget that producing a travelling circus is no easy feat. It can be exhausting, both mentally and physically, and the success of the circus relies on the custom of patrons. I can confidently say that there is much evidence to suggest that Circus Rio has been carefully produced over a long period of time to make it what it has become today; the performers and production team have worked so hard to produce such an entertaining show, and as such, deserve the custom of said patrons. Potential patrons can be sure that the show they see will be of exceptional quality, and while the weather may be cold outside, the big top is heated, both literally, and figuratively. This circus is one which truly brings the heat of excitement of Rio, to Adelaide. Don't miss it.
Circus Rio will remain at Bonython Park until May 12, before moving to Ridley Reserve in Elizabeth Grove from May 16 to 26, then Noarlunga Centre from May 20 to June 16.
***patrons are advised that this production contains atmospheric effects and a loud FMX act***