Life-sized animal puppets with fully articulated limbs come to life in front of your eyes in a cacophony of singing, dancing and plenty of audience participation. The Biggest Marionette Circus in the World: Part II is a family show like no other. A clockwork ringmaster aims to lead us in the revelries including underwater scenes, dancing butterflies and circus personalities in this strange multicoloured world.
Children and adults alike are swept up in the magic of these scenes but unfortunately there are only brief moments that manage this wonderment.
Moments of wonder fill the stage as giant, terrifying and beautiful fish swoop upon the audience and we are taken on an underwater adventure. Children and adults alike are swept up in the magic of these scenes but unfortunately there are only brief moments that manage this wonderment. The majority of the performance is taken up with clunky stage management; and it tends to dampen the mood and quell the youthful energy. The main focal point for much of the performance is the charming but not so charismatic ringmaster. Aiming to whip children into a frenzy of excitement he unfortunately doesn't have the required patter and so attentions wane. We meet other characters along the way, such as the circus strongman and lion tamer, but throughout the action is disjointed and a mediocre appetiser to the main dish.
The high point of the whole show is a scene that truly captures the imagination of young and old when, having been told to exit the theatre and reconvene outside, we are finally introduced to the 3 lifesize puppets: Giraffe, Elephant and Lion. The marionettes are operated beautifully and it feels as though the company are at home with these giant creatures. An hour of play and storytelling with these wonderful creations would have been a much better use of the time and a spectacle that would have been far more entertaining.
This is not most polished or entertaining show but there are moments of wonder. The life sized animals are so beautifully operated that children can't help but gaze in awe. I am sure that parents will find their children intermittently entertained for an hour but when ranked alongside other dedicated theatre companies it doesn't quite hold up.