Monday, December 19, 2011

REVIEW: Birdhouse Factory by Cirque Mechanics

HKAPA Lyric Theatre, Wednesday December 7

It was a very entertaining performance, but that’s all it was…

Birdhouse Factory is a contemporary circus along the line of Cirque du Soleil. There was no animal involved and the traditional circus acts were given a new twist by injecting them with character-driven concept. In this case, the concept was…ummm… birdhouse factory. The circus drew on the visual cues of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, the machines found in cartoonist Rube Goldberg’s drawings and the industry mural of Diego Rivera. Performers were workers in the factory; and with the use of the different contraptions in a factory setting, they perform their circus act. The concept is very compelling and original but unfortunately, one can’t help but feel that the execution didn’t go far enough.

In comparison to a contemporary circus I saw last year, Lang Toi (My Village) – Dancing with Bamboos (click here to see my review), the Birdhouse Factory was far more entertaining and the concept worked perfectly. It has a fairly clear storyline. In the first half, the story revolved around a factory managed by a strict and pompous boss who also happens to be fabulous juggler (Steven Ragatz) that led to the closing of the factory. The second half saw the re-opening of the factory (this time it makes birdhouses) under the management of a fun-loving boss who happens to be a remarkable clown (Jesse Dryden). Some of the highlights of the show were Alexandra Pivaral’s scary and disturbing contortions, Steven Ragatz’s juggling and the tango acrobat of Nelson Pivaral and Goulia Rozyeva.

Perhaps being very entertaining is good enough.


Birdhouse Factory
by Cirque Mechanics
Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
November 30 to December 11 2011

Creative Team:
Chris Lashua, Creative Director
Aloysia Gavre, Co-Director & Choreographer
Steven Ragatz, Captain of the Funny

Cast includes:
Steven Ragatz, juggling
Michael "Tex"Redinger, trampoline act
Jesse Dryden, clown
West Hatfield, trampoline act
Michael Hill, acrobat
Lindsay Orton-Hines, aerialist
Jan Damm, acrobat
Viktoria Grimmy, hula hoop
Elisabeth Carpenter, aerialist
Nelson Pivaral, tango acrobat
Goulia Rozyeva, tango acrobat
Alexandra Pivaral, contortion
Frederic Lemieux Cormier, German wheel

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