There isn’t a ringmaster. Instead we have, from the Peking Opera, the Monkey King and his amusing side-kick, Pig as Masters of Ceremony. The performers they introduce display such risk-taking skill that you hear yourself saying to the person next to you, ”Oooh. Look at that!”
The story on which the show is based features the Shaolin Wushu Warriors. It was written 2000 years ago and is based on the tale of Mulan. Mulan is a girl who joins an all-male army in place of her aging father to defend China against an invasion. She is promoted to General without anyone realising she is not a man!
Cao Jing plays Mulan and she has been practising Kung Fu since she was six years old. It shows as she excels in a dramatic fight with a giant warrior, just one of many well staged fight scenes. Another highlight is the famous lion dance, a performance which goes back centuries.
You look on in awe and wonder at a contortionist who twists his legs behind his back to look like snakes and see bowmen simultaneously snuff out five candles balanced on the head of a revolving woman. Other amazing circus skills include two young people performing daring tricks in the air whilst balancing on two sheets of silk, five girls riding monocycles, and gymnasts jumping through hoops.Diabolo jugglers nonchalantly toss a spool on a string tied to two sticks.
What is so amazing is that the artists, especially those who cling nonchalantly to poles, seem comfortable in the most bizarre of positions. With precise timing, skill and teamwork, they produce a near perfect performance which looks easy. There is only the occasional minor slip up. All this is performed to Wu Jia Ji’s original oriental music
It is wonderful that 2010 travel allows us to enjoy Chinese circus in Salford performing equally well on a big stage as they would in a big top.