It was a happy surprise to see the Sept. 5 opening night of the Moshi Moshi: Circus, Comedy, Chaos show at the Gas Station Theatre met with a full house and an enthusiastic crowd.
Winnipeg’s circus arts community is one not often celebrated as audibly as some of the other domains of the performing arts. In the summertime many local circus performers can be seen busking at Old Market Square during the Fringe Festival, but throughout the rest of the year they don’t seem to receive as much press.
Moshi Moshi is a collaborative showcase between local duo Street Circus, composed of seasoned performers Daniel and Kimberly Craig, and intercontinental comedic pair Funny Bones, composed of Chris Peters and K-Bow Miyagi.
Looking at the quartet together, they appeared to be a haphazard alliance, but their respective acts actually served to complement each other. The comical antics of Funny Bones balanced out the dramatic performances of Street Circus.
The transition between acts was harmonious. One moment, Daniel was on the Cyr wheel, showing his strength and self-mastery as he maneuvered around the stage with utmost control, the audience watching his every movement with bated breath.
The next moment, Peters broke the intensely reverent atmosphere as he mimed Daniel’s performance with a jealous grimace; with his ability to read a crowd and play off of their reactions, he made them laugh and put them back at ease.
Kimberly was the epitome of grace, and her previous formal training as a competitive figure skater was made apparent in the admirable discipline she displayed throughout her performance. Smiling as she hung only by her feet on a swinging hoop, she made it look easy – and surely, it couldn’t be.
Miyagi’s subtlety and quiet wit kept the audience guessing at what he’d do next. A master of distraction, he won the audience’s sympathy as he acted profusely apologetic, then shook them into laughter as he maniacally bolted from the scene. His exacting performance was refined and consistently delightful, garnering laughs from beginning to end.
Each artist brought something unique to the circus and kept it from ever having a dull moment.
The show was littered with a lot of comedy as promised, but relatively less chaos – which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The only time it was somewhat chaotic was when the Funny Bones troupe tried to interact or “pick fights” with audience members. And even then, they improvised off of members’ reactions so well that any disorderliness started was quickly adjourned.
The duo kept the aspect of unpredictability in chaos intact, without all of the confusion that goes along with it.
Moshi Moshi is a true collaboration of talents. It was a pleasure to witness such experienced artists really sharing the stage with each other and showcasing skills that are not lauded often enough in the Winnipeg arts scene.