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28 October 2014

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Chinese State Circus Review
Words: Michael English
lion dance
The ever popular Lion Dance

Chinese State Circus

Empire Theatre

Tuesday 20th January - Saturday 25th January


Chinese New Year
Chinese State Circus
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There are some things in life that when seen inspire you to imitate them. We've all rushed down the park after the FA Cup Final for a kick around, done a spot of shadow boxing as the final bell sounds in Rocky or run round the house with arms for wings after Top Gun. I am adding the Chinese State Circus to that list. The performances in the show are so outrageous that you feel you have to try to recreate the stunts, just to realise how impressive they are.

Liverpool A&E departments: you have been warned!

A smashing performance

In an age when cinema special effects make anything possible it is rare that we have to suspend disbelief. This show does just that. You simply have to marvel at the extraordinary feats performed. It doesn't take much doing when confronted by over an hour of gravity defying, injury disregarding acts. These performers really do the impossible.

Until you have seen a unicyclist riding on top of a rubber ball then kicking bowls onto her head you really can't believe it.

That's what prevents this show from having any dull moments. All of the acts make you feel like a child, amazed by feats that defy logic, even though you know what you are seeing is no trick.

It's hard to pick highlights, however, the acts that really stood out include the aforementioned unicyclist and the Wu-Su Kung-Fu, including two men bending a spear using only their necks and a poor soul having bricks broken over his head with a sledge hammer.

The reactions of the audience confirm just how good a show this is: constant oohing and aahing with rapturous applause greeting every twist and turn. The acts which got the best reaction from the entranced audience were the pole-climbing troupe who perform a variety of leaps and falls on 20ft poles, including nose-diving to within 6 inches of the ground with only legs for brakes. The lion dance was also a winner with the crowd. The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the two plate spinners - whose slapstick routine had the audience in stitches.

One of the amazing balancing acts

The Chinese State Circus is a show that really does have to be seen to be believed and the descriptions here do them little justice. Shakespeare and Don King between them would struggle to verbalise the truly unbelievable.

Go and see the show and you will not be disappointed. Then you can have fun trying to describe it to your friends! Only please - don't try it at home!

For more information: Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street Tel: 01517083232

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