Thursday, January 30, 2014

Judging the Judges, Monte Carlo Circus Festival, 2014: Two Critics Critique the Same Acts, Any Shockers? You be the Judge Now!

(original posting date lost)

 ALB:  Ernest Albrecht, Spectacle
ARR  Liz Arratoon, The Stage, London
MCJ: Monte Carlo Judges’ Awards -- Gold, Silver, and Bronze Clowns

                                    IDENTICAL SCORES

Dessre of Flight - Russian Duo on Aerial Straps
ALB:  10 – Both stylishly beautiful and thrillingly daring ... nothing short of breathtaking.
ARR:  10 – Simply sensational ... This is what circus should be about: skill, beauty, and danger in equal measure.

Sokolov Troupe - Teeterboard
ALB:   10 – Executed brilliantly ...supported by Mozart’s music ... what we have is a beautifully realized collaboration of circus and theatre.
ARR:  10 – Thrilling teeterboard act .. [with] a stagey Mozart theme ... a female flyer lands cleanly on a three-man column without the aid of a lunge.  It is breathtaking.
Wuhan Acroatic Troupe - Trampoline and Risley
ALB:   8 – The most unusual act in this or any other festival was a.complicated combination of trampoline and risley ... flyers were propelled to the topmost section of the revolving arm where they were caught in the classic risely position.
ARR:   8 – Truly dangerous an daring act ,,, but with ugly equipment and costumes and bombastic music, this seems ill-considered.

Alexandra “Sasha” Pivaral - Contortion
ALB:   8  – Amazingly fluid moves and poses ... fast and extreme.
ARR:   8 – Pure class ... many unique moves without a hint of arm wobble..

Rosi Hochegger - Dogs and Comedy Horse
ALB:  8:  – Had me smiling throughout ... presented with a mimimum of human intervention.
ARR:  8: – A whale of a time.

Mike Leclair and Karen Bourre - Have a Ball Duo
ALB:   8  –  Enormously charming.
ARR:   8  – Superb ball-balancing display ... They also throw in some neat dance moves.
Vlad Kostenko and Anton Savchenko, Duo Kvas - Strong Men Hand to Hand
ALB:   5 – A class version of the act made famous by numerous other pairs.
ARR:   5 – Great exponents of the art ... Hand-to-hand act is so familiar you feel you’ve seen it all before ...all a bit to clinical.

Kolganov and Belogorlov, and Munoz Trio, Clowning
ALB:   0  –  They never drew any laughs.
ARR:   0   – Wearying antics ... Neither is funny.  Enough.


Duo Suining Troupe - Hand to Hand
ARR:   10  – Astounding strength and balance in an overly melodramatic number ...[ finale] brings down the house.
ALB:   9  – One of the most impressive displays of strength and balance ... enhanced by Zen-like chanting.

Troupe Dobrovitskiy - Aerial Casting
ARR:  8 – All manner of somersaults, pirouettes, and layouts ... most attractive and entertaining.
ALB:  7 –  Most impressive were several passing leaps in which two flyers passed each other in midair, between catchers ... [flyers were thrown back and forth] as if they were rag dolls.
Vavilov Troupe - 7 male acrobats
ALB:   7 – The flyers were propelled from the ground to a swinging elevated platform and then flipped off ... eight girls helped dress this act which had a zombie theme, lots of gory makeup and decaying costumes.
ARR:   6 – It’s all a bit messy and frantic.

Eliza Katchatryan - HighWire
ALB:   7 – Seemed to make a big impression here ... the oddest part of her act was the tiny air blower stationed at one end of her wire [giving the impression] she were a high fashion model on a photo shoot.
ARR:  6 –  [in pointe shoes]  she is limited in the number of ways she can move ... [her tricks] are inevitably a bit similar.   
Tom Dieck Jr. Tigers, Ligers and Lions
ARR:   7  –  Looking super smart, he zips his [animals] through the customary rollovers, hind leg walks, leaps and sit ups but then adds an open-sided metal drum that rolls like a wheel of death.   
ALB:   6  – A very fast paced act with only a few other tricks.  Its greatest problem was the layout of the ring [some of it ] blocking the audience vew.               

Robert Murgaine, Contortion Dancing
ARR:  7  – It may all be very clever and although he causes a storm ... he’ll never have universal appeal.
ALB:  6  – The strangest act of all ... a grotesque eccentric contortion dancer ... proves there is still room in the circus for the seriously bizarre.
MCJ:  Special prize for break dancing.

Vinicio Canastrelli Togni -  24 Liberty Horses, 6 ponies
ALB:  10  – The one [act] most worthy of a second viewing ... circling the ring in concentric circles in opposition experience one is unlikely to encounter again any time soon.
ARR   8 –  Organization is marvelous, but how much better to see them running naturally than walking on hind legs or jumping all hooves off the ground.

Faltyny Family - Unicycles with Slack Wire [one of three of their acts I am looking at here)
ARR;   8 –  Amazing balance skills.
ALB:   6 – A fairly routine act except for ...[a]  woman balanced on a slack wire held between the two men on giraffe  unicycles.                   

David Burlet - Comedy Plate Spinning
ARR:   7 – Has built his nippy act round a comedy of errors .... His timing is spot on.
ALB:   5  – Strangely devoid of the kind of hysterical humor that usually characterizes such an act.

Daring Jones Duo - StaticTrapeze
ARR:  8 – Fast paced, beautifully costumed and choreographed ... with no safety measures, they nip through a series of casting and catching, drops and feet-to-feet catches set to jazz age music.
ALB:  6   – They received little attention ... music did not support the final trick, which left them with a flat ending.
Joe Gartner Family - Children with Indian Elephants, first routine:
ARR:   6 – Eight very young children ...the third New Generation Circus festival [upcoming] would have suited them better.  However, they all show great maturity.
ALB:   4 – Very youngest members ... attempting to be vaulted [onto an elephant] ...the ring was crowded to the point of chaos.

Joe Gartner Family - Second routine with Elephants Tableaux, second routine
ALB:   8 – A blindfolded elephant ...elephants wore futuristic head gear and created several interesting group poses.  No bull hooks were used by anyone, anywhere in the act.   
ARR:   6 – The close relationship between humans and animals is obvious.”
MCJ:  (overall grade for their appearances) BRONZE
                      MARKED DISAGREEMENT            
Hans Klok - Illusions
ARR:   8  – One of the night’s most entertaining spots ...the master of speed-substitution stunts showbiz, so slick, so quick, ... you can’t help but buy into his shtick.
ALB:   5  – One illusion after another in an overly familiar style heavy on the s and m ... almost every one of his illusions was baed on the same escape and replacement technique.
Anastasia Makeeva - Double Aerial Loop Cloud swing
ARR:   8  – Most stylish act of the night ... she executes any number of flexible posses, again with no lunge... hearts stop when she slides serenely into the splits, supported only by one foot in either loop.
ALB:   5 –  Less impressive than her [eight female dancers) introduction.
MCJ:  BRONZE           

Conchi Munoz and Gary Jahn - SEA Lions
ARR:   8  – With very commands from the trainers, these experts slickers do most everything from from balancing beach balls to walking on their flippers, and are warmly received.
ALB:   5 – An act that held little surprise, and like some other acts, seemed to have no real ending.

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