Corpsed: “Cirque of the Dead”

Presented by The Boston Circus Guild
Script written by Tim Ellis, Ricky Hawkins, and Jeremy Warren
Circus direction by Michael “Mooch” Mucciolo
Choreography of finale by Ellen Waylonis
Band lead by eHawk
Online Program for More Credits

October 21 – 26, 2016
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
Boston Circus Guild on Facebook

This show is 18+ only, due to graphic / disturbing content. Strobe lights are used in this production.

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Few things are as fun as a circus show, except perhaps a Halloween-themed circus show with zany scientists, colorful cohorts of demons, a jammin’ band, and a mid-show filked-up sing-a-long.  Cirque of the Dead is back for its third year at Club Oberon and it’s ready to wow you.  This thoroughly entertaining evening has your usual thrills, not terribly many chills, and a few non-lethal spills.

The performers at the Boston Circus Guild never disappoint.  They are talented, driven, and incredibly strong.  As usual, Oberon is the perfect venue for a down-home circus show since it allows audiences to get up close and personal with the action in a way that generally isn’t possible with some of the bigger circuses that often pass through town. It’s even more incredible to imagine that these performers are semi-professional: circus artists by night, your regular hum-drum humans by day. In a way, this makes performances by BCG that much more exciting.  This is art created out of love rather than some corporate agenda. Cirque of the Dead is infused with that love and the passion is palpable to audiences.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the band.  Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band was on hand to play through some of the more “sticky” moments of the show.  I mean this literally; if ever you wondered why theatrical productions don’t frequently use blood onstage, go see Cirque of the Dead to find out.  Clean up is intensive and must be done immediately lest the blood damage vital stage components or become clumped/stuck to the floor.  While a hoard of technicians mopped, wiped, and polished up after the performers, ENSB jammed out to some Halloween-themed nostalgic tunes.  Their sound was both refreshing and familiar, delightfully eclectic and original while being eerily uncanny.  They had an incredible energy and presence that was infectious, which made them the perfect palate cleanser between circus acts.  I could have honestly listened to them play all night and danced the entire time.

Turning back to the circus arts, my major critique of this production is its absence of directorial oversight which led to a general lack of cohesion.  While the acts were vaguely “Halloween” themed, and the show’s enthusiastic hosts were working hard to tell a well scripted, well-rehearsed story, the acts themselves didn’t add to the story at all.  They seemed like random interludes with no narrative structure.  We in Boston get our fair share of circuses passing through; in order to stand out from the pack there has to be a little bit more than show.  It’s not really enough to present incredible feats of strength, grace, or balance.  To really ice this cake, the acts needed some tweaking to tell stories that somehow added to the plot of the night.  This is the next step for any acrobatic performer: take the incredible skill and apply it.

Despite this, the evening was a good on and I’d definitely recommend checking out Cirque of the Dead.  As usual, Oberon’s specialty drinks are delicious.  Some audience members even came decked out for Halloween, which gave the event a festive and otherworldly feeling.  Come ready to dance and marvel and you’ll be impressed (I’m sure a few drinks will add to the sensation).

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