Review: ‘L’homme Cirque: The One-Man Circus’ at Strathmore

Glory days of diminutive touring tent circuses visiting small towns return with David Dimitri and his L’homme Cirque: The One-Man Circus, currently at Strathmore. In a cozy tent set up on the Strathmore Music Center lawn, Dimitri brings an intimate performance full of some big risks and small genial moments–with no animals in sight, but for a cute fabricated horse.

David Dimitri performs on the high wire in 'L'homme Cirque: The One-Man Circus,' now at Strathmore. Photo by Andrew Propp.
David Dimitri performs on the high wire in ‘L’homme Cirque: The One-Man Circus,’ now at Strathmore. Photo by Andrew Propp.

If you are of a certain age, you likely remember the joy of smaller touring circus companies coming to town. If you are now a parent or grandparent, you can relive that joy with your children and grandchildren. And for anyone, L’homme Cirque is a golden opportunity to take in “slowed down” entertainment that is far from the hustle and bustle of our current times.

In his 60-minute solo routine, Dimitri starts small and builds his performance into a crescendo of physical feats. With his pantomime ways, he is able to communicate easily with the audience, especially the large number of younger children who were a major part of the 225-member audience the night I took in his performance.

I will not spoil the evening with a detailed list of his routines. But I would be remiss if I did not highlight a few. Dimitri’s inside-the-tent wire acts, one with a wire about 6 feet or so off the ground and another perhaps 15 feet or so from the ground, are both done without a net and are stunning. There is also a cannon act that was pure magic. You will just have to see it. I found myself watching each of his performances as if I was a little kid again, looking with absolute marvel at what someone would try and could do.

The finale took my breath away–both the adult me and the kid me. Dimitri did a very high wire routine crossing from outside from the small tent, in the early evening light. With about 450 eyes fixated on him, he was 50 feet in the air. And then appreciative applause came from 450 hands in unison, from the young children, the Gen Xers, and the Boomers who all had their necks craned upwards in disbelief.

Dimitri does his entire act full-bore for 60 minutes, showing incredible stamina to do what he did with no real break. He had one or two quick moments to go backstage for a quick sip of water.

True to his earlier interview with DCMTA, Dimitri delivers on his goal. “L’homme Cirque is not at all about flash and crash. It’s about a guy who travels the world with his own little circus and wants to bring his art to the people. My story is about showing people that anything is possible. I want each person who watches me to think about their own dreams, then go home afterward and start fulfilling those dreams.”

Bravo to Strathmore for this programming. You made the Strathmore lawn into a small-town community of happy folk out for a unique live evening of entertainment.

L’homme Cirque: The One-Man Circus is simple bliss, especially for the younger set (if those at the performance I attended are a good measure of enthusiasm). It’s pure time-machine theater. I did miss some cotton candy, but so what. I think I did see some fireflies.

Running Time: About 60 minutes, with no intermission.

L’homme Cirque: The One-Man Circus plays through July 7, 2019, at the Bernard Family Foundation Pavilion at The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD. For tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or go online.