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The Grand scheme of showmanship

PUBLISHED: 13:48 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 17:23 16 August 2010

EYE-CATCHING: Le Grand Cirque has captivated audiences across the country.

EYE-CATCHING: Le Grand Cirque has captivated audiences across the country.

PERFORMED with military precision and incredible acts of strength and skill, Le Grand Cirque is a magical and spellbinding experience.

PERFORMED with military precision and incredible acts of strength and skill, Le Grand Cirque is a magical and spellbinding experience.

Often compared to the world-renowned Cirque de Soleil, the show currently coming to the end of a UK tour is bold and daring.

Perhaps not yet in the same league as the most famous circus in the world, producers have clearly gleaned inspiration from the French-Canadian masterpiece.

Le Grand Cirque ran at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford from Tuesday to Saturday last week.

Featuring world class artistes from around the globe, the show comes direct from Las Vegas, America, where it received a standing ovation at every performance. Action comes thick and fast with performers on Chinese poles, bungees, silk loops and straps, plus a mesmorising Chinese contortionist, plate spinners, and dramatic hoop-divers. An ensamble bicycle number and a female hand balancer kept the audience captivated with stunning acrobatic acts to follow and strong, powerful music and light shows throughout. Despite the growing trend for circus to be performed on a theatre stage, as apposed to the traditional Big Top, performers superbly negotiated the tighter space at the Orchard. Even the slightly annoying circus master with the top hat, white tie and tails won over the half-full auditorium to have theatre-goers in fits of laughter.

Although the show was packed with exciting, energetic performances the punctuation of each number with the dancing girls who parade in different outfits becomes relentless and fails to match the high standard of such a thrilling encounter.

On some occasions they even distract from the main performances. Circus is certainly experiencing a comeback and is great fun for people of all ages, especially youngsters. Following the success of Cirque de Soleil and others that have followed, including Cirque de Surreal and the TV show Cirque de Celebritie, this is still well worth a visit. To find out more visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk or call

01322 220000.

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