Sunday, November 20, 2011

Circus Knie 2011: A YouTube Review ... Has the Old Europe Big Top Changed?

Thank you, Don Convington, for sending me this 8-minute teaser-sampler containing, I take it, the season's highlights from one of the world's most respected circuses.

The show's assets, moderate to outstanding, are pleasantly satisfying. There is, yes, a well honed artistry to much of what you will see, albeit in a rather unimaginative context. Which, once you settle in (as I did, after watching the video a second time), makes for a welcome change from the more overproduced (Ringliing jumps to mind) and over commercialized American shows.

A memorable climax here is supplied by a Chinese group (I assume) demonstrating a terrific ensemble risely. Across the upended feet of five manipulators on their backs, a very young fellow, almost a kid, maintains steady headstand posture as he is bounced from one to the next. It's a wow, but like a few other turns, in slow motion leaves something to be desired.

Three charming guys in striped shirts are mildly amusing. Impressive tricks are delivered by well-drilled horses, acrobats and aerialists.

The variable music, which sounds recorded, is only OK -- once you get used to its not casting any kind of a distinctive atmosphere. But, even given tepid direction, I'll take Knie over Feld. I think. For a while. What do I miss? A certain lack of dramatic momentum. But this is just a sampler; I saw another YouTube of Knie 2011, with the same acts except for the guys in striped shirts missing, in their place two comedians who talk a lot. Hmmmm. Nice laid back evening. Okay, summing up:

It's still old Europe: Respect for the act with little extraneous hoopla gilding the ring.


Jack Ryan said...


I believe the explanation as to why the striped-shirt guys were missing in the second video:

A friend in Europe who knows Knie well tells me that they engage one clown group for the tour to French speaking areas and another for the tour to German-speaking locales.


Showbiz David said...

Jack, I would love to see this show all the way through, to see how the program rolls. Hard to believe, if so, that Knie does not have a live band?!? Knie???

Jack Ryan said...


I understand that Krone also uses recorded music on tour but maintains live music for their winter shows in Munich.


john herriott said...

What a wonderul circus program of class acts all the way.john herriott