Review from: Bromsgrove, 10-14th April 2019
With any new enterprise, the follow-up to the original concept with all its enthusiasm , drive and energy is sometimes difficult – hence the dreaded ‘Second Album’ syndrome. No such problem for Circus Sallai*. Their second season got underway with a mainly new cast and a totally new idea: Highlighting one of the problems of modern day society, the show revolves around ‘Fred’, a homeless man taken into the circus community and given hope, friendship and a purpose.
Leading the audience through the show are Ringmistress Angel Sallai and Clown Billy Herrin. Working well individually or as a duo, they knit the performance together with well thought out introductions and slick comic reprises.
A well choreographed opening sequence leads to a fast paced show, featuring a cast of young artists. Circus Sallai is a female-led show, and the cast are predominantly female, offering a subtle nod to the current issue of Diversity. All of the acts are well presented and a full range of circus skills is on show. Most importantly, the acts are presented TO the public not AT them, and there are enough smiles in the Circus Sallai ring to go round the world.
The second half opens with a beautifully costumed and staged production of Send in the Clowns, featuring Seraina De Block on trumpet and vocals, Julia Szegedi and Jodie Nesbit on silks, and Lizzie LaBelle performing ballet.
The resolution of the ‘Fred’ story follows a soulful rendition of Smile on trumpet and saxophone from Seraina and Lili Konyot, which introduces the finale. This brings the company back for a dancing, singing, colourful display to close the show.
Finally, a word – or many – must be said about the lighting and music design from Pisti and Robert Sallai: It is of a standard rarely achieved in a travelling show of any kind. It enhances every artist’s time in the ring and becomes an integral part of the whole performance.
Full credits and programme are as follows:
Hula Hoops: Eve Everard
Swinging Trapeze: Jane Deaglan
Reprise: Billy Herrin and ‘Fred’
Rola Rola: David Herczeg
Urban Cowboy: Lili Konyot
Juggling: Billy Herrin
Hanging Pole: Julia Szegedi
Laser Show: Lizzy LaBelle
Singing: Lili Konyot
Motorbike Carousel: Easy Riders (Patrick & Lissandra Austin)
Hand balancing: Fruzsi Markó
Aerial Chains: Signor Salvatore
Comedy Magic: Billy Herrin
Roller Skating: The Ferrandinos (Armando Ferrandino and Jane Deaglan)
Producer: Summer Roberts
Choreography: Elizabeth Springthorpe
Lighting and Sound: Pisti and Robert Sallai
*Disclaimer: One of the artists is a family member but I have tried at all times to be objective in this critique of the show.