Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moscow Circus in Universitet

Friends have been telling me I should definitely try to catch the Moscow Circus as it is quite an experience. In November, after returning from Singapore, I finally managed to persuade Eddie to get tickets for all of us. We made our way towards Universitet, a metro station near the Moscow State University. There are 2 main circuses in Moscow, another one is the old one in Tsvetnoi Bulvar; the one we went to is the modern, supposedly more sophisticated and entertaining one.

The Moscow Circus. Looks pretty impressive and modern from the outside.

Even though everyone had tickets in their hands, we all still had to queue to enter the building. It was cold outside.

Along the circumference of the building are coat-hanging areas and also snack bars with very expensive cotton candy, popcorn and soda.

Went inside and was rather underwhelmed, the arena was really small, and the wooden seats looked rather old-fashioned. Uh-oh...remember now, I have a reluctant Eddie and Sean in my party.

The Leong men chomping down on popcorn and looking rather out of place amongst the sea of Russian children and their parents. Besides us, there were a few small groups of Korean-looking businessmen, but I would say most of the audience are locals.

And the show begins...

The Russian audience loved the clowns and the loud music. Lots of clapping. We clapped along too. I don't think Sean did.

This post is a picture-heavy one, but I think the photos I put up only reflect about a tenth of the stuff that was on show. It was a long, long show, and when we thought it was over, it was actually just an intermission.

Here, they bring in furry, cute dogs to perform stunts. See the scantily clad ladies, well, there was an abundance of them throughout the show. A feast for the eyes for sure! We're talking tiny thongs here, and jewelled-studded brassieres that leave very little to the imagination. Not quite the family show we're used to back home.

And see that guy wearing black on the right of the photo. He's the circus ring-master, and he's got a really cruel look about him. I started feeling really lousy when he whipped the animals, not these doggies, but the lions, tigers, camels later on.

Next came the camels, with scantily clad ladies writhing atop them...hahaha, well the writhing may be all in my head lah haha...The camels look really sad with their big, pleading eyes.

There were lots more but all the shows went by in a blur, I don't remember much of it. We're just not used to this, feels like a bombardment of the senses.

These 5 mummified acrobats entered to the sound of Michael Jackson's Thriller.

A Unicorn!!! :) I have to admit this fairy-tale like scene did look really nice.

In total, there were about 4 stage changes. They do this in the dark, and direct your attention elsewhere, usually to some other performance higher up. This time when we looked down, and the light was turned to the stage, it was a caged stage. The poor animals in here performed and got whipped often :(

Caged stage taken away, and suddenly animals like ostriches, caribous (I think), and other African animals made their appearance. No performance, just appearing for us to see. Very strange.

Oh, there were a few hedgehogs running around the stage, just running round and round. The picture is so blur, but I wanted to take this cos it reminded me of Monica! And I never knew hedgehogs were so huge!

Now, this is towards the end. Remember there were lots more stuff I didn't show here, just so much, too much for us. I had been told by my friends May and Lynn about the stage changing into one with water on it, so was prepared not to be distracted. You see everyone is looking upwards cos something was going on while they changed the stage. I was focused on finding out how they did the change. The entire stage was actually moved mechanically to the side, and then a smaller arena comes, actually I can't explain how they did it. You've gotta go see it yourself :P

Water begins to fill up this stage rapidly.

Ahhh, fountain...very nice :)

A boxing kanga fighting a human boxer and finally pushing him off the ring into the water. This is followed by a seal performance, not Seal the singer, but seal the animal.


Well, only Brian had a good attitude about the show and said he enjoyed it. Me? I could hardly wait for it to end. Eddie just looked perplexed and when we came out, we just laughed! Sean was the worst lah, in the first place he didn't want to go...he pronounced it SB+, from Mousehunt's Super Brie Plus, he changed it to "Super Boring Plus!"

We're just sad folks lah, so jaded, so spoilt by modern tv and movie fare that such shows just seem 'kitsch' to us. I mean, the rest of the audience seem to enjoy themselves thoroughly. My friend May even came to this circus 4 times! And she said each time, the show is different, and this one with the water stage is the best! May had to come 4 times cos she accompanied her friends who visited her from Thailand. Now if anyone visited us and wanted to go to the circus, I'd be happy to buy tickets and take them to the venue, but I ain't sitting through the entire show again.

But that's me, very uncultured, I mean, I don't even enjoy Cirque De Soleil. Did I hear GASPS?? hahaha...It's just a bunch of people jumping and bouncing up and down, I mean, I can watch about 10 minutes of that, and then, I switch off.

My Singapore friends Lynn and Roy also watched the circus, TWICE! And they were the ones who egged us to go for the show. Maybe we went in with high expectations (but I think not). I told Lynn how we felt about the show and she still said it was 'nice what..." hahaha, and suggested I go watch ballet. ???!!!

So yeah, that's our experience with the Moscow Circus. Something to say we've been there, done that, and something that every visitor to Moscow should probably try to catch...but we're never doing it again :) (I know the circus is a national icon, but I figure if everyone stops watching, then the animals can go free and won't be whipped by that cruel circus master anymore.)


monlim said...

Hahahaha, all your reactions are just priceless! Why like that? Looks quite fascinating what... it's like those old-time circuses you read about in books, with the costumes, animals etc. Cirque du Soleil is the modern type, hard to catch these old-world versions these days.

And I must must clarify: THAT'S NOT A HEDGEHOG!!!!! That's a porcupine lah, you mountain tortoise...

Lilian said...

That's the thing Monica, I don't think they were intending for this to look like an old-time circus! This is the modern one lah. Just that we are so used to the stylo-mylo Cirque Du Soleil type that we think this is old-fashioned.

Not hedgehog meh? hahah...I thought porcupines are very small and round.

monlim said...

Modern meh? I thought it's the standard line-up with animal act, acrobats, clowns etc. But I agree with you on the skimpily dressed ladies - not very family friendly!

You got it the wrong way round, hedgehogs are small and cute. Didn't you read your Enid Blytons? They get into gardens and drink from milk bottles. Porcupines are large, scary animals with quills that can pierce skin :P

Syed Danial said...

eh.i thought they didnt allow the audience to take pictures?? hurmm :)
i went there last month and the performance to me was so-so.maybe this time the theme is not so interesting?
oh ya.about the sambal udang recipe u asked on my last comment .i have a friend who makes very good sambal.i'll ask him and will tell you the recipe later :)

Lilian said...

That's what I'm them, this is modern, to us, no lah. 2 years ago, Brian and his schoolmates performed a Russian dance which was telecast on Russian TV. We were in the audience, and there were many other performances, and the entire show looks like something from 1970s RTM Hari Raya variety show...seriously. But the thing is everyone, all the kids, and parents, were so enthusiastic, laughing and clapping so much. Different culture lah.

Lilian said...

Danial, I didn't know about no photo-taking hehe...act blur lah, I don't understand Russian so even if they did announce...

Oooh, thanks in advance for the recipe! Where do you guys get your rempah?

Syed Danial said...

i see :)
usually we use the rempah we brought from malaysia.if we ran out of it, we'll go to the indian spice shop.the ones that we know is located 2 in southern moscow (one in Yugozapadnaya and the other one i cant quite remmeber} and one at the north (VDNKh).they sell very good should check it out :)
for the recipe i'll send it to you when I got back to moscow