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Cirque Surreal: Voyagers – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Julia Taylor

Roll Up for Cirque Surreal’s Voyagers although you will be rolling up to a stage rather than the company’s customary big top. This will not, however, detract from your enjoyment. It might even add to it.

Reading the company’s paper thin programme, you might think you were attending a political meeting about man’s devastation of the planet, stateless people and street children rather than a circus. The programme makes no mention of the acts performed or, indeed, the names of the 26 performers from 11 countries – so people who deserve praise for their circus skills cannot be recognised. The best thing about the programme is the news that the Gandey Group of companies supports the work of Pattaya Street Kids, who lead a very different life to the children who begin their Easter holidays excitedly watching this show.

The term Voyagers comes from the company’s creation of a modern fable of five Voyagers travelling through space and time under powerful, mystical lunar influences beyond their control. But this rather thin plot is an excuse for some amazing feats. This is circus at its best.

One intriguing performance comes from a contortionist who manages to fit his whole body through a coat hanger! A clown and master of mime coaxes five members of the audience on stage, wraps ropes around four of them to create a boxing ring and has a punch up with the fifth. On another occasion a tap dancing Cossack whirls ropes with weights on simultaneously, lasso style. But the piece de la resistance is a girl who walks the tightrope above a rocking boat-like object. She doesn’t just walk, sometimes on tiptoe, but does the splits, too. The hardest part is when a man sits at one end of the ‘boat’ which makes the rope slope upwards and, voila; she makes it to the top.

These superb artistes are backed by mostly electronic music, dramatic lighting effects and colourful costumes. The show finishes on Easter Monday so bring the kids soon. They’ll love it even though the programme might, like the trapeze artist, be above their heads.

Runs until 6th April 2015

Reviewer: Julia Taylor Roll Up for Cirque Surreal’s Voyagers although you will be rolling up to a stage rather than the company’s customary big top. This will not, however, detract from your enjoyment. It might even add to it. Reading the company’s paper thin programme, you might think you were attending a political meeting about man’s devastation of the planet, stateless people and street children rather than a circus. The programme makes no mention of the acts performed or, indeed, the names of the 26 performers from 11 countries - so people who deserve praise for their circus skills cannot…

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.