When Katja asked whether we'd prefer to see the Chinese acrobats instead of Mamma Mia we didn't hesitate for long. Well, Timo did, a little, because he thought he'd never been to a ballet before, but then I reminded him that he'd been to see the Sadlers Wells Edward Scissorhands production (which was a ballet) and that actually, this performance was likely to be more about the circus and less about the ballet.
So we went - and it was gorgeous, entertaining and extremely corny. It felt as if the group knowingly hammed up the sections likely to cause titters from the more serious audience members - such as the slow-moving stuffed camel ridden by the lead dancer during the glittering harem spectacle, or the mechanical giant swan bumper-car that slides into view right at the beginning and reveals a dancer from its innards amidst clouds of smoke machine vapour. You'd have to be a little dead inside not to find these additions funny. I just hope nobody went expecting to see an evening of traditional ballet. It was a great circus performance with some ballet influences.
The breathtaking highlight of the evening was the en pointe dancing by the lead ballerina on the leading male's head. Yes, balancing on one tiptoe. Apparently this was the heart of the original concept of the show, around which the rest of if grew.
The next thing I'd love to see is Monkey, which WAS showing at the Royal Opera House. It was sold out and the run had ended last time I checked, but if tickets will become available again, I'm there!
After that, it might be wise to float down from the trapeze and see a proper play again. Or a proper opera for that matter. But I've got to admit, for the time being, these musical and acrobatic spectacles are just what the doctor ordered.