Article by Luis Vazquez
Photo credit Mark Shelby Perry
The circus is in town. No not that one. The acrobats are flying in air. No, not that show. The only name in speciality entertainment you need to know in 2017 is a small scale bundle of joy called Snowkus Pocus.
A cast of five were the equal of five hundred entrancing us at the 14th Street YMCA in New York City riding a breeze as crisp as the evening wind this particular evening. This production brought to us by Cirque-tacular Entertainment centers around a young girl named Brianna who is whisked away to a winter wonderland where she comes face to face with the inhabitants of this colorfully magic place.
Played by Cali-Filipina Criena House who dug into her bag of mime sans face paint to breathe life into a character who was full of wonder with a potporri of facial expressions which told the story of a little girl with wide eyes that spoke of exhilaration, with zest, and a ton of charm along with equal parts irritation, exasperation and frustration.
A curl of the lips or the frenetic movements of the gymnast she is spelling out her emotional position at each juncture. This was the creative control aspect that is described but open to translation that allowed Criena to beat out 500 competitors. “It was physical acting,” Criena explained, They gave me a scenario and I had to illustrate it, Criena explained, “I played children a lot cause I’m short and it’s something in my back pocket that I can always pull out.”
The first two characters Brianna sees are “North Wind” played by Teo Sebastian, who was the power man of the team who often carried two and even three performers on occasion. Easy with a smile he could easily transform to an angry bull who would even fight Jack Frost.
Frost (Aaron Bonventre) with an ever present grin seemed to relish the various tricks https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/viagra-pharmacie/ he played on all the characters. His battle ballet with North Wind was quite elegant. He was the limber one who easily transitioned from acrobat to aerialist.
His display of body control on the Cyr Wheel was impressive but his signature moment was his excellent hand to eye coordination with the whip snapping flower stems out of the mouth of Azure (Ellie Steingraeber) with a deadly precision.
Azure, whose rock solid body was stretched to it’s fullest contortionist limits lymbocally challenged her body on the ground and in the air. Her highlight included gyrating her body to keep hoops rotating an all her limps. She proceeded to twist with twenty hoops at one time.
The Snow Queen (Nalina Mann) brings her athletic torso into every area of the show as acrobat and dancer. The woman who can speak five different accents has as many moves to match. The triple threat performer would close out the show later with a bang.
There were many amusing moments such as when Brianna, while watching Azure contort into a crablike position pushes her to the side innocently but annoying her all the same. Another was an angry Brianna who tried to engage in a fist fight charging Jack Frost swinging punches at air while Frost laughingly keeps her at bay with an extended arm on her forehead.
A snowball fight was also quite hilarious which highlighted the brilliance of the props created by Naila Ibragimov was brilliant in its simple symbolism whether it was a cape that indicated being cold or the Lyra Sun reprsented by a large elevated ring with Azura in yellow bodysuit contorting her upper body upwards with legs above her head in a V. In the finale confetti thrown from colored pails onto Brianna representing Spring could be easily understood and together with tbe transformation from pants to summer dress in mid-air was a clever twist to end the show.
One cannot be creative without the images to aid in suspending reality. Diana Susanto whose costumes were extravagant yet streamlined to allow flexibility but pegging each character easily su h as Jack Frost’s blue vest or North Wind’s shredded cloth over painted shirt. Bodysuits easily identified White Queen’s smart white leotard and Azure in yellow. Animations provided the background which elevated a fairly basic set into a living story board thanks to Brook Kallstrom. When you add the Josh Bob Rose-led lighting together it’s a book come to life.
The finale provided the surprise of all surprises as the Snow Queen, in an attempt to cheer up Brianna, upset that she was pulled away from the fantasy winter world into spring blew a lifeless piece of rubber into the Sun Balloon which in essence was an oversized balloon.
She then proceeded to cover her head to her neck and we suddenly had a dancing Sun Balloon doing a dance number with Brianna. Then a surprise. The Snow Queen pulls the balloon further down to her waist, and then if that was not enough, covers her whole body until it popped almost as loud as the response from the audience.
What makes Snowkus Pocus so intriguing is there are extra tricks so each show is slightly different. But even if it wasn’t from start to finish it is a awesome distraction for children and adults alike and it has something for everyone. Especially now that the circus is out of town.