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The circus is coming to town

The Chinese State Circus will be somersaulting its way to the Lowry Theatre this month

Published on January 13th 2010.

The circus is coming to town

So the Chinese government has its own circus? Now there's an idea for those cabinet ministers struggling to come up with something new to put in their election manifesto. This production, which is designed to take traditional Chinese performance art around the world, has been touring the UK since the start of January, and it's clocking up some good reviews. We suspect that a British State Circus featuring morris dancers and maypoles would struggle to compete with the spectacular sights on offer here.

The show is centred around the legend of Mulan, which tells of a Chinese peasant girl who becomes a fearsome warrior (Disney did a version of it in the Nineties). It includes precision acrobats such as men flying through head-height hoops, lightening-fast martial arts from the Shaolin Wushu Warriors, and mythical Chinese characters such as cult TV favourites Monkey and Pig. Mulan herself is played by Cao Jing – a martial arts champion who began learning kung fu when she was just six-years-old.

With contortionists, lion dances and daring gymnastics, it's the type of thing that will induce involuntary gasps from adults and wide-eyed glee from children, but unlike productions such as Cirque du Soleil, it's relatively low-tech. The website refers to its 'quiet charm' and says that 'the level of skill is so phenomenally high that any razzmatazz gloss is redundant.'

The Lowry Centre is going circus crazy at the moment – as well as Mulan, they're hosting an exhibition called Circus by photographers Anderson & Low from 16 January to 11 April. Then on 8 March, you can see the award-winning show Traces by Les 7 Doigts de la Main. Fresh from their appearance at the Royal Variety Performance, this company will entertain with a combination of traditional circus skills and urban acrobatics similar to those found in basketball, skateboarding, street dance, hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll.

Finally, on 15-16 March, The Hot Dots by So & So Circus will tell the story of a contented juggler who discovers the perils of ambition in a theatrical experience set against the backdrop of the 1930s music hall.

For colour, life, and several examples of 'the greatest show on Earth', head to Salford over the next few months.

The Chinese State Circus, Wednesday 27 January-Sunday 31 January. Tickets start at £14. For more info, go to www.thelowry.com

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johnJanuary 13th 2010.

The link for the lowry above take you to Directgov's website for ID cards !Come on Man Con !

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