HEIRLOOM TOYS CIRCUS – Ottawa Fringe Coma 2018

Just finished up day two of Ottawa Fringe 2018, I’m at home, have scarfed down some chicken and am half-chugging a red bull to try and keep my reviewing schedule apace. Wish I coulda stayed a bit longer at the at-last-open Sky Lounge but what the Hell, I’m an anxiety ridden anti-social dope, and my Otter wasn’t there anyway. Plus, I got all this writing to do before work tomorrow! Nice view, tho. Dang.

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So day two started right back where day one ended for me, at La Nouvelle Scene’s gargantuan but gorgeous Studio A ,where it was time to indulge in Deflying Feets’ HEIRLOOM TOYS CIRCUS. Billed as a ‘circus spectacle presented by a world class troupleof Canadian perfomers and aerial acrobats’, you better believe I was hoping to see me some wild circus action going in. Even before opening, the stage is littered with a variety of odd looking equipment, setpieces and novelty props, much of which I could only imagine their uses. Over the course of the show, we are introduced slowly (and occasionally very sneakily, and very surprisingly) to the troupe, a gang of five uber-human leapers, twirlers and lunatics who flesh out the admittedly barely-there storyline about a Toymaker who needs to move forward with his life, and is haunted by a tragic past. Or something like that. But it’s all right, because all of this is mostly just a lovely excuse for some of that top-banana circus action we were all hoping for going in…and yeah, we get it and then some.

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Up, up and away with HEIRLOOM TOYS CIRCUS! Photo credit Duane Steel

From an opening mix of classic acrobatics mixed with dance from a colourful character who seems to act as a sort of fool/narrator, the show quickly starts adding in thrill after thrill, and when I say they make great use of the expanse of stage space they’re given, I don’t just mean horizontally. You’ll get vertigo watching some of their antics, a few of which I don’t even have a word for, and boy o boy did I have more than my share of biting-my-hand, how-did-they-DO that, heart in mouth moments. I felt like a little kid and OF COURSE I loved it. Some of the action was more exciting than others, but everyone will have their fav’rits. Personally, the aerial business was knocking my well-worn socks clean off, and I think it will do much the same for most others. And I freely admit to having my heartstrings effectively tugged on in one beautiful, sentimental flashback sequence, done with some terrific theatre magic and lighting effects, that really added a nice emotional heart for the whole show. A lot of the rest is indeed pure spectacle, and very much fun for the whole family (lots of kids in the audience at today’s opening show). It may not be classic theatre, or have too much in the way of story, but if having a grand, fun time marvelling at some fantastically skilled performers who scoff at things like gravity and personal safety is your thing, then do Deflying Feets ever have a show for you. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R (and Baby G)

PS Check out the rest of Heirloom Toys’ performances along with ticket info HERE!

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