Molotov Circus: a flawed delight

Molotov Circus

There is something charming and heartwarming about the fact that the quirky tight-knit family of artists and performers of modern lore still do exist. In the case of Molotov Circus (currently on as part of SummerWorks), Winnipeggers Arne Macpherson and Debbie Patterson are joined by their offspring, budding teenager Gislina, and youngster Solmund in the telling of a tale about a travelling family of Russian circus performers who struggle to keep a modicum of normalcy about their lives despite their unusual lifestyle. This proves to be most challenging for rebellious Albina (Gislina) who yearns to plant roots and seems determined to do so by any means possible.

Molotov Circus is a delight to watch unfold, with many creative turns of phrase resulting in some uproarious laughs, some unique visuals such as the wheelchair bound matriarch, and no shortage of true-to-life circus spectacle drawing oohs and ahhs - in large part thanks to Solmund who even at his young age is at least a quintuple threat, demonstrating an aptitude for various busking, musical, and dance skills. Unfortunately spectacle is the strongest element of the show; from a storytelling standpoint, the narrative is awkward and slow to emerge, the mood uneven, and the theme overt and heavy handed. It’s hard not to like Molotov Circus, but its flaws are not easy to forgive either.

Molotov Circus is part of this year's SummerWorks Festival. For more information run away and join this.

By Justin Haigh