This year’s production of the Big Apple Circus—a one-ring affair free from lions and tigers—is loosely strung together by Grandma, a dumpy lady of a certain age and then some, played en travesti by veteran clown Barry Lubin. The movie theme is pretty vague, too, but nearly all the acts are swell. The show features lithe tumblers, swift and subtle as a school of minnows; a shampooed-and-blow-dried team of clever canines; peripatetic jugglers; and a singing ventriloquist with an avian alter ego. Two beautiful solo aerialists soar high overhead like fearless angels—a young woman on a flying trapeze, twisting her pulchritudinous body into amazing configurations, and a daring young man masquerading convincingly as Peter Pan. A fresh-faced acrobat of 13 astonishes with his balancing feats, as do a pair of sinister men working in weighty slow motion. An Ethel Merman–style diva belting out songs and a live band in a dusky little aerie make the show musical. The Big Apple publicist told me to be sure to bring a child. Thanks, Kate! Your delight was contagious.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 8, 2005