We see posters advertising the Chinese State Circus almost every year when we walk into our local town center. When we got back from Hong Kong and heard that they were performing nearby we both thought it would be good to go and watch it to keep in the Chinese spirit.
We arrived at the Opera House in Buxton and the first thing you noticed was how small the theatre actually was. It had a really snug ‘local’ feel to it and the place seemed to be buzzing with young children. On the stage there was a giant yin yang sign hanging from the ceiling which is a symbol buried deep within the Chinese culture. As soon as we sat down the lights dimmed and the show started off with a fast paced musical piece. The musicians were playing traditional Chinese instruments but to a very modern beat. This opening act seemed to set the pace for the rest of the show.
From there you watched many acts that included plate spinners, hat jugglers, diablos, Shaolin warriors displaying their strength and focus, pole climbers, balancing acts, drummers, the list goes on. Each act was very different to the previous and was very light hearted and I suppose a little tongue in cheek. Not all the acts went according to plan but this didn’t phase the performers and they either tried again or simply carried on as if nothing happened. Either way it didn’t detract from what was being performed and some of these tricks are no doubt very very difficult to perform and would certainly require a great deal of skill and practise. I would give full credit to the performers because they did offer a very entertaining show.
I suppose my main criticism of the show would be that the production value did seem a bit low at times, this is especially so with the music that is being played whilst an act is being performed. Some of it was played live and some music was a recording that seemed to be of quite a low quality and in places very repetitive. We have both been and seen Cirque du Soleil shows and it would be very unfair of me to even try to compare the two (the ticket price you pay and the scale of the show is vastly different) but the Cirque du Soleil shows do have an extremely high production value and the acts flow seamlessly. I felt that if the music was better and the the show flowed from one act to another a little smoother then it would be absolutely superb.
Don’t let my criticism put you off going and seeing the Chinese State Circus because it is a very light hearted piece of entertainment. If you have children then judging by the reaction of some of the children in the audience my guess is that they would love it. It certainly didn’t give me the WOW factor but I did enjoy it and I had full appreciation of the skills that the performers displayed. If you do see the posters in your town then I would say that it is certainly worth considering.