Saturday, May 3, 2008

"And If We Shadows: Scenes from a Circus Life" (UNRATED)

Although we enjoyed "And If We Shadows: Scenes from a Circus Life," extended three weeks to run through June 2 at the Brava Theater in the Mission, it's not going to be possible to rate it. Put on by City Circus/AcroSports, an organization dedicated to combining urban arts with circus crafts, the show is part hip-hop break dance, part aerialist and contortionist spectacle and part attempts at slapstick humor. There are moments where the audience catches its breath as performance equals concept; there are also moments where the show feels like a middle school graduation recital.

There are two givens here: This reviewer has not seen many break-dance beat-box performances, and this may be why Carlos Aguirre (beatboxer), Bobby "Finesse" Vicario (breakdancer) and Shawn "Iron Monkey" Hallman (breakdancer) seem to steal the show. Aguirre does beats with his mouth that defy vocal gravity, while Vicario's finesse and Hallman's sheer strength can be jaw dropping. These three are terrific.

On the other hand, there have been many world class circuses that have come to town, and the reviewer has seen them all. How can you compare pros in Cirque du Soleil and Cirque Eloise with kids who are learning their craft? You can't. It's like apples and burning rings of fire.

The audience seemed to be composed mostly of parents and little brothers and sisters. We're very glad we came, and hope that director Tim Barsky continues his quest to combine two very different and difficult disciplines. There's plenty of work to do and everybody seems dedicated to the task. That's the exciting part.


"And If We Shadows: Scenes from a Circus Life"
Brava Theater
2780 24th Street at Potrero, San Francisco
Fri.-Sun. through June 2; $12.50

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