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August 10, 2017
Review: Atlas Circus Company’s ‘Lucky’
(L-R) Russell Norris, Henry Evans, Avery Deutsch, Leo Abel. Photo credit: Peter Yesley

A man, asleep and blindfolded, is standing atop the shoulders of another man. He slowly begins to slump and the awake man cannot hold him any longer. The sleeping man careens toward the ground and miraculously stays asleep. Atlas Circus Company, a company that blends acrobatics, magic, dance and theatre, makes being hopelessly unlucky look good. Their delightfully interactive, slapstick-heavy new show Lucky, now at Dixon Place, is complete with zany antics and broad physical comedy and is perfect for kids and adults alike.

Keeping with the grand clowning tradition of pratfalls, magic tricks, juggling and more, Lucky follows a hapless recent transplant to the Big Apple (the marvelous Henry Evans) as he tries to survive in the big city. Ironically, he is unlucky in everything; he can’t hold down a job for the life of him, and the woman (Avery Deutsch) from the cubicle next door he keeps a flirtation with continually eludes him. From picking up trash in the park, to working at a soulless office, to waitering at a restaurant, he literally keeps getting knocked down by his boss (Russell Norris). And, in the aforementioned sleeping sequence, a burglar (the Puckish Leo Abel) hilariously keeps trying to steal his briefcase, which he can’t quite let go of.

The Atlas company members, especially Evans, who also created and directed the show with Tommy McCarthy, imbue Lucky with a classic vaudevillian sensibility, taking as much inspiration from Warner Brothers as the Ringling Brothers. The onstage backdrop is a cartoon drawing of rotating New York City scenescapes. There’s even a banana peel just begging to be stepped on. The only thing missing is a cane wrapping around someone’s neck pulling him offstage.

Together with the cast and directors, choreographer Tyler Holoboski does the near impossible by helping to make the death-defying actions of the four performers look seamless. Some of the things they do look downright dangerous (doing aerial acrobatics on a steel beam for one). But, of course, like all good circus performers, they make it work. David Evans sets the playful tone with his lovely piano music, sometimes on its own and sometimes over a recording.

Atlas Circus Company is a prime example of a new company pulling off old tricks with a modern twist. But hey, if it works.... And Lucky proves that, indeed, it does.

 

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Review: Séquence 8

By Tami Shaloum

Prepare to watch in awe as the fearless members of Montreal-based company Les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers) perform gravity defying feats of acrobatics in their show, Séquence 8, at New York City Center. Directed and choreographed by married co-founders and Artistic Directors Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila, the eight performers of Séquence 8 will make you laugh with their screwball antics, hold your breath as they tumble and fly in the air, and blow your mind as they land with grace and precision. In addition to featuring amazing performances of such circus arts as Russian bar, teeterboard and aerial hoop, the hilarious and extremely entertaining Séquence 8 is infused with comedy, dance and music. Charismatic emcee and trumpeter Colin Davis provides most of the evening’s laughs along with the energetic Devin Henderson, who performs a vaudeville-style act involving a Chinese pole and a bell. Eric Bates delights with his cigar-box juggling as the other performers continue to throw him more and larger boxes. Ugo Dario and Maxim Laurin get higher and higher in their teeterboard act, performing airborne flips like it’s cake. Camille Legris’ gymnastic abilities are quite impress …Read more

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Written by: Tami Shaloum
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