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Volume 34
Issue 33
 
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Circus Contraption intrigues and entertains with its dark and delightful creativity
Circus Contraption intrigues and entertains with its dark and delightful creativity
by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

Seattle's own local, human "one ring circus", Circus Contraption, performed their eclectic carnival/cabaret/vaudeville show "Grand American Traveling Dime Museum" at Magnuson Park in July, in preparation for their second annual tour to New York City. They were a big hit last year in New York, with great reviews and audiences lining up around the block for tickets.

Circus Contraption's approach combines an uncanny blend of nineteenth and twenty first century sensibilities. They are a bit Gothic, highly surreal and wildly imaginative with obscure and dreamlike acts like the Aardvark ballerina/musicians, the pickled "oddities": fetuses resembling sweet potatoes with eyes, one of which escapes its glass jar, and the mechanical Gypsy fortune teller, Darty Kangoo (Lara Paxton), who comes alive, leaving her carnival glass booth to perform graceful and sinewy aerial acrobatics.

There is a very sweet act in which Bunny LaMonte (Matt Manges), who is consistently a very endearing performer, invites a woman from the audience to join him in his special motor car on a trip around the world, created by a rolling screen of shadow puppets and landscapes behind them.

Pinky d'Ambrosia (Sari Breznau) sings a wacky operatic aria complete with English super titles and a costume that looks like a combination of the Queen of the Night and Marie Antoinette. Her song quickly descends into a neurotic complaint of a lost love who never appreciated their monogrammed towels and never noticed her purposeful interior design touch of painting her cat's toe nails to match the furniture. D'Ambrosia is really a great singer and actress and comedienne, as well as a fine trumpeter in the band.

"Necrobatte", Acrophelia (Evelyn Bittner) leaves her glass display case to share a well done, very concentrated balancing acrobatic interaction with Dime Museum "curator" Dr. Calamari (Jason Williams). In another scene, Dr. Calamari, this time playing "the Drunk", is lying in bed with his bottle, totally smashed, when four little red "Devils", complete with horns and tails, appear, to torment him. This bit is hysterical and may be construed to be a comment on the evils of too much alcohol.

The Circus Contraption Band provides a wide, and unusual variety of musical pieces throughout the performance, rounding out the activities and ambience of the evening in a wonderfully complimentary way, playing all original music ranging from waltzes, blues, jazz, klezmer and gypsy tunes to tangos, polkas, torch songs and circus music reminiscent of the turn of the twentieth century.

I highly recommend taking in a performance of Circus Contraption when they get back from what I'm sure will be another successful New York run. For more information about Circus Contraption visit: www.CircusContraption.com

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