MONTE CARLO 2014
Rating the Acts – Judges to Critics and Special Prizes
Following are excerpts from two reviews of the Festival, one by Liz Arratoon, the other by Ernest Albrecht.
ABOUT THE NUMERICAL SCORES
The score before each review excerpt was NOT assigned by the reviewer but by myself. It is based completely upon how I was made to feel about the act after reading the reviewer’s comments.
My score range: 10 (best) to 5 (average) to 0.
The score is NOT a rating of how the review was written.
Under Identical Scores, reviewer’s position follows simple alphabetical order. Thereafter, the first review quoted is that of the reviewer to whose comments I assigned the higher score.
ALB: Ernest Albrecht, Spectacle
ARR Liz Arratoon, The Stage, London
MCJ: Monte Carlo Judges’ Awards -- Gold, Silver, and Bronze Clowns
SP: Number of special prizes awarded. I am only listing for acts that received at least 2, given the insignificantly large number of prizes handed out.
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 and 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 minimum of human intervention.
ARR: 8: – A whale of a time.
Mike Leclair and Karen Bourre - Have a Ball Juggling 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 too clinical.
Kolganov and Belogorlov, Clowning
ALB: 0 – They never drew any laughs.
ARR: 0 – Wearying antics ... Neither is funny. Enough.
IN CLOSE AGREEMENT
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 - High Wire on Pointe
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 view.
Robert Murgaine, Contortion-Robotic 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.
NEXT, DUE IN TIME:
PART II: From the Two Critics: A Difference of Opinion to Marked Disagreement
And my conclusions.