Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

The Lowry’s vast Lyric Theatre plays host to the visually stunning spectacular, the Chinese State Circus and it turns out to be a perfect venue for this live action spectacular. This production is jammed packed and includes live musicians, lion dancing, plate spinning, hat juggling, foot juggling, pole climbing, Shaolin Warriors and much much more and starts with a bang and continues with the same intensity and pace throughout.

As one might expect this is a highly accomplished company whose skills are plentiful and they are not shy about demonstrating them. Dissapointingly after each phrase or demonstration within each set piece, the performers pause for applause and them come to the front of the stage for a  round of applause with makes sitting in the auditorium feel like being in a room of clapping seals after a while. This halts the performance and spoils the ebb and flow of the evening which would be even more impressive had the cast performed each segment continuously and sought the much deserved applause at the end.

The volume of content throughout the course of the evening is to be commended although some sections to feel a little drawn however the quality of the performances elicits audible gasps of delight from young and old in the auditorium and deservedly so. To a large extent the performers are flawless and clearly exceptionally well rehearsed. There are moments of pure pleasure and entertainment from the Monkey King who even indulges in a spot of audience participation and the Shaolin Monks never fail to amaze with their seemingly impossible stuns and life threatening demonstrations.

The recorded sections of the soundtrack are tinny and too loud and much too repetitive. There is more ill-fitting lycra on display than required and too much seeking applause and audience approval however all if forgiven by the sheer quality of the set pieces and the skills on display. 

The Chinese State Circus is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the performers and is a delightful treat for all the family.

- Ruth Lovett