Cirque Banquiste! : Fun for the Whole Family
by Mina Frannea
Our family caught the opening night performance of Cirque Banquiste! last night. We saw the show last year and loved it so we were eagerly anticipating this year’s production — we weren’t disappointed! Directed by Fanny Kerwich, founder of Lone Star Circus, Cirque Banquiste! creatively combines the excitement of thrilling circus acts that will keep you on the edge of your seat with humorous skits that will make you giggle and laugh out loud.
Following an opening act by Gordoon (Jeff Gordon) that involves bubbles, soapy water and an unsuspecting audience member, Cirque Banquiste! opens with great fanfare featuring silk aerialists, rope aerialists, clowns and the magnificent Liz Mikel. We’d seen Ms. Mikel a couple of weeks ago at the Dallas Theater Center and she’s really great so we were thrilled at the prospect of seeing her host Cirque Banquiste! this year.
As the Mistress of Ceremonies, Ms. Mikel introduced the show’s performers. The audience was also treated to hearing her sing a few songs including the sultry “Fever” and “Peel Me a Grape”, and we got to see her perform in a few of the scenes. She has such a rich voice and her boisterous personality is fun to watch!
There were so many great performers in the show. Slappy and Monday (Trish Riley and Dick Monday) delighted us with their hilarious antics as did their sidekick Zerp (Nic Rainone). When Slappy and Monday came out with a piece of cheese and an oversized knife, we laughed non-stop when they “cut the cheese.” Their ventriloquist skit was side-splitting funny and our son was elated when Slappy ran by and splashed us with her tears!
Matthew Richardson performed on a huge, spinning ring. His routine also included aerial straps.
Simone Lazar was breathtaking in her performance on the aerial ring. She also performed a few acrobatics on the aerial rope that was just above where we were sitting!
Also a highlight for us was Kirill Rebkovets performing his Rolla Bolla routine. Watching him balance on a board atop multiple cylinders will keep you on the edge of your seat — just amazing! A fun fact about Kirill is that he honed his art practicing as a young boy in his backyard.
Hailing from Las Vegas, Rafael Abuhabda led his Cartoon Poodles as they jumped through hoops, ran around the stage and slid down a slide. This act was a bit chaotic for my taste, but it did resonate with the younger members of the audience.
The Anton Brothers entertained us with their agility in their Risley Act. One brother juggled the other with his feet. I counted 21 constant back flips during the end of their act – wow!
Gena Cristiani amazed us with her coordination during her juggling act. At one point, she was juggling multiple pins and did a forward flip without missing a beat! She also bounced a ball off her forehead while twirling two hoops at the same time. You can see how fast her hands move in the photo below.
Jesse Patterson made it look effortless as she spun multiple hoola hoops. We wished that Jesse’s routine had been longer. She ended her routine by twirling 30 hula hoops at one time! Fifteen year-old Jesse is a Dallas native and a veteran of the Lone Star Circus School.
Cassondra astonished us with how she was able to contort her body. I remembered seeing her in last year’s show. Cassondra teaches contortion at the Lone Star Circus School.
Ricardo Sosa displayed strength and beautiful lines as he stretched his body during his hand balancing act. When we met him after the show, I commented that he seemed to be singing along with the song during his performance. He confirmed and said he does that because it helps him transition through the sequences of his performance.
Cirque Banquiste! is an amazing show and worth seeing. The intimate theater setting at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts allows the audience to really connect with each performance. This Lone Star Circus production has something for everyone so the whole family can enjoy the show. Outside of the many great circus acts, attendees can enjoy pre-show festivities and meeting the stars after the show! The stars are great about signing autographs and posing for pictures.
Cirque Banquiste! is playing through January 1, 2013. You can get 20% OFF your ticket purchase by using code CIRQUE. To purchase your tickets visit www.lonestarcircus.org.
Mina Frannea is an online media professional. She is the editor and social media manager at North Texas Kids Magazine as well as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for Actor Richard Hatch. Mina enjoys the Arts, Sci-Fi, new technology, cooking, enlightening discussions and sharing relevant information on her blog TheMomsJournal. Mina also provides PR services for conventions and other events.