Review: Sugar Beast Circus @ Roundhouse

By Londonist Last edited 171 months ago

Last Updated 16 April 2010

Review: Sugar Beast Circus @ Roundhouse


"The truth isn't important. Or it is, but it keeps changing."

This double bill, care of the gloriously-named Geneva Foster-Gluck and her global travels, is a heady mixture of dance, film, acrobatics, animals and not a little philosophy. The first (shorter) act, Milkwood Rodeo, is the story of an Indian circus headed by the ringmaster Babu and populated by holy men, crazy men, odd job men, arch manipulators and one employee called Frank Sinatra. One day, Frank explodes at Babu “like a blister.” Accompanying his story is a ruffed lady on a rope who expertly twists every which way but loose and a series of atmospheric film clips.

The second act starts with a moment of pure theatre: three near-identical women move through the audience and onto the stage before we are introduced to famed ringmaster PT Barnum who has invited Charles Darwin to see things he has never seen before. The audience is asked to pretend that the year is 1859 when “what once passed for truth will become entertainment.”

While this act is less plot and more metaphysics, the action doesn’t let up as we are introduced to three exquisite female dancers, the circus lion, some cabaret and the star of the show, Vladimir the dancing bear who juggles and rides the tricycle and unicycle. The dancing ranges from more rope dancing to the most sexually - charged use of a hoop that I’ve seen in some time while Darwin and Barnum trade verbal blows on the nature of truth, faith, illusion and science.

The show as a whole is an interesting concept that crosses genres like a short-sighted jaywalker and I’m looking forward to where Ms Foster-Gluck takes this concept next.

By Franco Milazzo - who jumped in at the last minute to review this show - thank you very much!

Sugar Beast Circus is on tonight and Saturday in the Studio Theatre at Roundhouse. Tickets £10/8. Part of Roundhouse Circus Fest which runs till 16 May.