What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Circus 1903 makes you feel like a kid again

Posted September 27

— Remember when you went to the circus for the first time? I was about 6 or 7 years old and remember the big tent, high-flying aerial acts and the clowns. It was unlike anything I had ever seen.

A show running at Durham Performing Arts Center this week is bringing back the nostalgia of going to the circus for the first time.

Circus 1903 -The Golden Age of Circus transports audiences to the year 1903, the day the circus is coming to a small town. Back then, the circus coming to town was one of the biggest events of the year.

The thing this show does so well is make you forget you are at the DPAC seeing a Broadway-type show. You really get that "big top" feel when David Williamson, who plays Ringmaster Willy Whipsnade, hits the stage to open the show. While the acts are fantastic, it's Williamson who steals the show with his audience interactions, especially when he selects children to go on stage.

The show, which opened Tuesday night, is a mix of comedy, action and fun.

Circus 1903

The show's first performers are a trio of acrobats who flip and twist while on a giant see-saw. Other notable acts include a man who can juggle just about anything, a woman who can tie herself into knots and a high-flying trapeze act.

As much as these acts will leave your jaw dropped, there is nothing that will prepare you for the first time the elephants take the stage. Designed by the award-winning team of puppeteers and model makers who created the National Theatre's War Horse, these magnificent puppets are very life-like. You start to forget they are puppets after a bit, especially when the baby elephant comes running out.

Circus 1903

Overall, Circus 1903 will help you recapture the wonder and awe of the circus and leave you believing in magic again.

Circus 1903 runs through Sunday at DPAC. Tickets are still available.

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