‘Circus!’ at The Puppet Company

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Juggling bears, flying trapezes, and tightropes! The Puppet Co. presents Circus!, a spectacle of tricks and feats led by a band of marionettes, beautifully crafted by the talented Len and Pat Piper, Christopher and Mayfield Piper, and Allan Stevens.

Abner's death-defying high wire act in 'Circus.' Photo courtesy of Theh Puppet Co.
Abner’s death-defying high wire act in ‘Circus.’ Photo courtesy of Theh Puppet Co.

Set Designers Allan Stevens and Mayfield Piper frame the stage with a red and white striped circus tent lined with gold fringe and tassels, with a raised ring rising from the center. This, alongside the cheery music, makes up a miniature Circus. Puppeteers and performers Christopher and Mayfield Piper are both bedecked in glittery red-and-gold ensembles, perfect for a Ringleader and his assistant.

After greeting the young audience, Christopher and Mayfield waste no time in bringing out the stars of the show; including a seal who balances a ball, a clown who rides a unicycle over a tightrope, and “Bimbo,” the trained circus bear. My favorite performer must have been “Lupus,” a playful wolf who is so overcome with excitement that he stumbles over his hurdles! With encouraging applause from the audience, Lupus is able to focus on his trick (Piper’s masterful puppeteering stands out the most with this act– it could be a real wolf at the end of those strings!) I also loved the graceful, delicate marionette who proved tougher than she looked as she flew through the space on a flying trapeze! Another great aspect of the show was a large puppet mask crafted to resemble a lion. Worn by Piper with matching “paws”, the lion roars while wrangling with its trainer-on-strings. Physical comedy is also a big part of this show and gains waves of laughter from the audience. For instance, when a clown was trying to climb up onto his pedestal, Piper tugged the strings to make it’s little tush wiggle at the audience, and the children LOVED it.

The tricks are cute and well-executed, performing impressive balancing acts and defying gravity! The young audience seemed to really enjoy themselves, and I loved the puppets, which are works of art in their own right. After the show, Piper brings one of the “performers” outside for a meet-and-greet with the children, who scramble for their turn to pose for a picture with the puppet.

A visit to Circus! at The Puppet Co. will make a memorable day for your family!

Running Time: 40 minutes, without an intermission.

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Circus plays through February 15, 2015 at The Puppet Co.— Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd. – in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, call (301) 634-5380, or purchase them online.

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