Dundee audiences are being promised a stunning display of thrills and spills as one of the world’s most famous circuses rolls into town.
The Moscow State Circus has set up its big top at Riverside Park.
Following last-minute rehearsals yesterday afternoon, the curtain went up on the first performance of the Hotel Gostinista show last night.
The production is in its second season, having toured southern England last year.
The action follows the tales of various hotel guests, with narrators carrying the story forward as the next acrobatic feat is set up.
The Moscow State Circus tour shows in two-year cycles and the hotel theme is now rounding off this year’s run in the north of England and Scotland. The next show is already in the pre-production stages.
Among the acts are skipping, unicycling, juggling, acrobatics and the tight rope, which includes a performer balancing on the head of a colleague on the rope 6ft in the air.
Two of the performers, Alex Chervotkin and wife Bella Chervotkina, have been performing in various circus shows for more than 30 years.
Alex grew up in a family of circus performers and Bella joined when she was 15 years old.
Known as the Chervotkins Duo, the married couple live in Las Vegas and have performed numerous shows there and all over the world.
Alex said: “The performers have all grown up in this world – some are third or fourth generation circus performers and I myself am a seventh generation performer.
“These are people that know what they are doing. We have a saying that we all have circus in our veins. People who come to see the show will see people who love what they do and know how to entertain a crowd.”
There will be two shows a day until Sunday.
Tickets prices range from £8, for concessions, to £36, for VIP adults.
‘I set out to traverse the tightrope unaided – and failed miserably’
There are worse ways of spending an afternoon than clowning around in the Big Top. Although when the Moscow State Circus team challenged me to tackle the tightrope I did wonder if I should have stayed in the relative safety of the office.
Luckily the line was only a few inches off the ground, rather than the five or six metres high version used for show nights, because the stunt isn’t as easy as the professionals make it look.
After a few faltering tries with support from two experts, I set out to traverse the tightrope unaided – and failed miserably. About a dozen attempts later I did manage to make it to the other side, although I cheated by lunging towards the end as I felt my balance failing – a tactic that might have had consequences if I’d been higher up.
Double Dutch skipping seemed more straightforward – until I tried to jump into the fray and realised how poor my timing is. Once I was in the midst of the ropes it was quite easy to keep a rhythm going – but boy was it tiring.
And fun as it was, I don’t think I’ll be running away with the circus any time soon.