theatre review

Leaky Heaven Circus
1500 block William
(just west of Commercial Drive)
July 3-11

Imagine classical Greek tragedy played as broad, raucous comedy under a circus tent. In Leaky Heaven Circus’ version of the Oresteia, King Agamemnon (Peter Anderson) wears a top hat and red clown nose. Queen Clytemnestra (Manon Beaudoin) has a voice that could cut through steel. Son Orestes (Colin Heath) enters with a triple backflip, followed by the Greek army played by four kids, none more than three feet tall, and a dog.

Daughter Electra (Ruby Rowat) is a spectacular trapeze artist, Iphigenia (James Long in drag) a vamping ’50s girl-next-door . The captive Trojan princess Cassandra (Lesley Ewen) bumps and grinds across the stage looking like Mary Wilson of the Supremes. Zeus (Nial McNiel) raps “you shut up” and Agamemnon recites from Allen Ginsburg‘s “Howl!”

One silly or remarkable routine follows another. Much spaghetti is thrown. Characters die, disappearing into the underworld through a trashcan, only to reappear dancing or flying. Clytemnestra gives the audience crying lessons in three-part harmony. Agamemnon has his tongue nailed to the floor. Mosey the dog wanders the aisles and children appear doing adorable things.

A cross between chaotic Christmas panto and poor man’s Cirque du Soleil, Leaky Heaven offers the best family entertainment in town. Anderson and Beaudoin are terrific comic talents, Heath and Rowat world-class acrobats. (Rowat’s trapeze routine and Heath’s German Wheel are major highlights.) The fifteen or so kids and teens have some impressive circus skills. Everyone is loveable and the whole thing is just huge fun.

Jerry Wasserman

last updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 8:14 PM
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