Heirloom Toys Circus is an exciting piece of circus, physical theatre, and impressive acrobatics with flips and aerials that will leave you amazed. The show offers a series of acrobatic vignettes, loosely held together by a story of a toymaker and his creations. The show markets itself towards children, and bright costumes, exciting tricks, and dolls and jack-in-the-boxes coming to life certainly makes it a joy for kids, but the stunning acrobatics will leave adults in awe too.
The loose story focuses on a toymaker, his new apprentice, and the toys he creates that come to life in beautiful choreography, and an extended flashback with his children as the deal with the death of their mother. Although no words are spoken throughout the play, so much emotion is explored through acrobatic flips, contemporary dance, and accompanying music, mostly electronic or popular. The flashback scene, for instance, explores tragedy physically, not verbally, with the wife doing flips and handstands on the husband and balancing on his shoulders. The physical intimacy of acrobatics powerfully explores emotional intimacy, set to the Death Cab for Cutie Song I Will Follow You Into The Dark. Love stories are also shown via dance instead of words.
When combined with emotion, the physical theatre aspects are moving, but they are stunning on their own too. The show features Risley juggling, acrobalancing acts, several aerial performances with ropes and trapeze, and many flips and tricks. The sheer physicality of the movement required is stunning, and elicited applause from the audience with each successful flip, twist, handstand, or juggle. The show ended with each acrobat taking their turn spinning through the air on the teeterboard.
In short, Heirloom Toys Circus combines juggling, acrobalancing, flips, and aerial performances, with a tender story told through a colourful cast of clownish characters. The tricks these incredibly talented acrobats can do on stage will delight and astound kids and adults alike.
This article originally appeared in Capital Critics’ Circle on June 16, 2018, and has been reposted with permission.