Bolt-On Fun

Karla Hayward
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Kyoko Uchida hangs from a tissue. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Open your eyes and say awe! Its time for big time excitement in the Big Top with Beni Malones Wonderbolt Circus. See superstar aerialists performing high flying feats, Gentlemen Jugglers who will tickle your funny bone, live musicians who will delight you, and of course, Newfoundlands most beloved clown, Beni Malone.

It all happens at St. Bons Gymnasium, transformed with lights and stage magic into a circus extraordinaire. This years show has gotten a few upgrades: the lightings been much improved and gone are the uneven risers, replaced with a stage. Malone says its better for the audience with regard to seating and viewing and it adds a little something extra to the show.

Were always trying to up that ante, says Malone.

George Morgan, musical director for the show, promises something very special this year a four-piece live band.

The theme this year is sort of 30s jazz, so its just great to have a band We had a show in April and had two musicians and it just really took the production to another level.

Most of the shows performers are local, many of them having trained with Malone from the time they were kids. Three international performers have also signed on.

They have given us an energy and an attitude and a way of looking at what were doing thats really transformed us and sharpened all the edges, says Malone.

One of those international artists, LEcole Nationale Du Cirque trained gymnast Josh Oliver, explains the draw to Wonderbolt and Newfoundland. I came originally for the contract, but Im actually coming back for my second year because I just really dig it here. I guess its the sense of humour. The folks you meet here are cheerful and cynical at the same time. Its really hard to find!

And, Oliver continues, theres a real enthusiasm here that they dont always see. We get a great reaction here in Newfoundland. They appreciate what were going through. I think they catch the sweat on the brow, he says, grinning.

The zoot-suited ringmaster explains the shows theme. The Flyboys, people of that era, the gangsters, it just has that feel, Malone says .

The acrobatics feature aerial straps and fabric, a slack-rope artist, the Chinese pole and hand-to-hand.xThen theres juggling, a uni-cyclist, a hoop artist you name it, Wonderbolts got it. Theres lots of laughs too, much of it coming from Malones on-stage banter, but from the other performers too, in the form of physical comedy.

Our show is designed for everybody, says Malone. The kids love it. But what people dont realize is what it has for adults. Our evening shows have more adults than kids. Its a great place to take your girlfriend or boyfriend. Its a great night out. Its a real high-energy, visually exciting, musically satisfying great night out at an amazing price.

To those on the fence about attending, Malones got a simple directive. Come see the show. We put a lot into this. My line is, we punch above our weight here. When we do a show, we put everything weve got into it, nothing held back.

See Beni Malones Wonderbolt Circus at St. Bons Gym, Bonaventure Avenue, July 18-29. Shows are 7:30 nightly (except Mondays) with 2 p.m. matinees July 19, 20, 25, and 26. Tickets are just $10 for kids and $15 adults. Call 728.1819 or go to www.wonderbolt.ca for more.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Bonaventure Avenue

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