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CIRCUS 1903

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Paris Las Vegas

3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S

Las Vegas, NV 89109

800-237-SHOW

website

$53-$150

Tue-Sun 7pm

Occasional 3pm matinees

Circus

B

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

Traditional circus acts, lots of cute kids, and cruelty free elephants.

Where is it?

At Paris Las Vegas on the Center Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

If you want circus without all the soleil, then sure.

Why should I see this show?

You're looking for a good, clean, family friend night at the theater.

What else do I need to know?

The puppets are done by the same people who did "War Horse" on Broadway.

What's the bottom line?

Entertaining but not exactly ground breaking.

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REVIEW

Hey parents. If your kid is expressing an interest in being a gymnast, don't worry about them finding steady employment. Just have them move to Vegas where all manner of flipping, jumping, twirling, and other general derring-do is big business. From the seemingly endless Cirque du Soleil productions to the adult-themed Absinthe and now, Circus 1903, if you have great physical abilities of some kind you're probably going to be able to find a job here.

Unlike the avant-garde theatricality of Cirque productions or the outrageous, absolutely not-safe-for-kids Absinthe, Circus 1903 is about as traditional as they come. The concept here is a Circus circa 1903 (see what I did there?), with the genial owner of the traveling troupe acting as story-teller, ringmaster, and audience participation wrangler. Everyone is dressed in turn of the previous century clothes, many with handle-bar moustaches and the like, and the whole thing has a throwback feeling to it that is at turns charming and a bit saccharine.

The acts may change over time but on the evening I saw it there were three guys doing high flips and acrobatics on a teeter totter, a guy doing some impressive stunts with a bicycle, tight-rope walkers, a juggler (who was the hit of the night despite the fact that he kept blowing his attempt at a "world record" stunt), a contortionist, and more. If you've ever seen a Cirque show you've seen stuff like this and while certainly entertaining - and at times impressive - it is not at all ground-breaking.

The one out-of-the-box bit is the elephants. Most real traveling circuses have retired their jumbo sized cast-members out of concerns about animal cruelty but the only things potentially suffering here are the people who control the giant puppets. It takes four to work the big elephant and one to work the baby version and they are excellently rendered and performed. Of course, again here, if you've seen the stage version of The Lion King, there's nothing exactly new about this either.

If you're a fan of the "kids say the darnedest things" type of high-jinks you're in luck. This is a very family-friendly show and if you bring your wee ones there's a good shot they will wind up on stage taking part in some of the Ringmaster's tomfoolery (it's 1903, remember). There are magic tricks and pies in faces (don't worry, not the kids), and other antics that are fun little bits of distraction while they reset the stage for the next act.

This is a retro show in ways both good and not so good. The good is that it's dependable entertainment - who doesn't want to watch people flying through the air with the greatest of ease? And certainly in times like these we could use a little comfort food for the soul like this. But at the same time there is an inescapable "been there, done that" feeling that makes me want to go see Absinthe again.

Note, the show plays 3pm matinees on select Saturdays and Sundays.

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