Who knew roller skating was an acrobatic sport? Could anyone foresee Marilyn Monroe reborn as a contortionist?
In every cirque show, someone surprising steals the show. At Cirque Kerwich, it’s a safe bet that professional roller skaters Yunier Padron Morales and Anaite Rodriguez would leave audiences agog with their spectacular spins and flings like extreme ice skating on wheels. The two incredibly attractive and sexy athletes burn up the stage. Morales is astoundingly strong.
Yet it is a local young woman, Matilda McSpadden, who steals hearts. Sporting a Marilyn Monroe vibe with platinum bouffant wig, white spangled catsuit, and red lips, her contortionist routine is close to faultless. She contorts in and out and on top of a smallish box, pretzeling herself inside and then peeping out windows with a wink and a kiss. Cutest thing ever.
Another stunner is Katya “Elia” Tabares. Her hand-balancing strength acrobatics is executed with smoothness and grace — not an easy task when lifting your body overhead. Her backward bends while balancing on posts are excellent, and the soundtrack, “El Tango De Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge, is a perfect accompaniment.
With the title Cirque Kerwich, generations of the French circus family are to be expected. Katia Kerwich, sister of Lone Star Circus maven Fanny Kerwich, flew in from France to perform a lasso and whip routine, sporting black tights and cowboy boots. Pre-teenager Gitana Doyle, Fanny’s daughter, shows impressive growth on the aerial lyra ring in just a year.
Parts of Cirque Kerwich are puzzling. Is walking atop bottles (Emma Foster) really a thing? Does aerial work using a hanging lamp (Frank Chapman) enhance the art? Is the androgynous lip-syncing act (Ryan Matthieu Smith) a teaser from the adult, burlesque-themed Cirque Kerwich show on Friday night?
But multi-limbed hooping from Asaf Mor is fine, though his cyr-wheel work is more impressive. Sebastian Padilla charms with his juggling. Love how Latin dancing infuses his skill in lying on his back and flipping about odd-shaped objects with his feet.
Magician Trigg Watson does very well as host, charming women and children. His wine-bottle shell-game and iPad/GoPro camera trick of spooky action at a distance still intrigue. Fanny Kerwich, skilled in a variety of acrobatics, resurrects her classic clown act complete with traditional oversize shoes. Keep your eye on the rigging aide, a minor show in himself, and shadows cast by some acts on the tent ceiling.
Look for the small blue tent in Farmers Market at Cedar Chavez Blvd. and Taylor near The Shed with plentiful restaurants. With less than 100 seats, all are within five yards of the 12-foot round stage.