The biggest news this week is the fact that the Triad hosted the premiere of a budding cirque-style theatre, The Fox & Beggar Theatre from Asheville, last weekend. Winston-Salem was the first stop on its tour of the original production, Tarocco: A Soldier’s Tale. I, for one, was overly excited about the performance, which included handmade venetian costumes, masks, giant puppetry and various circus and dance acts. Since I missed out on Cirque du Soleil’s production of OVO, which was cancelled due to the wide-spread disapproval of HB2, North Carolina’s “bathroom law,” I jumped at the chance to see something even vaguely similar.
Keeping in mind that obviously this isn’t the same multi-million-dollar production, the show was decently creative and beautiful. The aerial rope dancers and hula-hoopers were especially mesmerizing and the digital animations projected as a backdrop were vivid and enthralling. With a touch of dark and mysterious Gothic flare, the drawings created a wonderful framework for the production, helping to create its ominous aura.
The plot line, however, is a different story. It was understandably non-linear, as the show is strung together by 21 different scenes, each one focusing on a new art form and “plot” point. However, I would have liked a touch more cohesiveness, and the production as a whole could have been tighter. There were points were nothing caught my attention on stage, followed by moments when too many acts competed for focus. It’s as if the production tries to be a story, while not trying to be a story at the same time.
Overall, however, if you keep abstract thought at the forefront and allow yourself to suspend logic and rationale thought, the production is quite intriguing, and certainly something new worth witnessing. At the very least I’m overjoyed that a local theatre is taking a stab at such an intriguing mix of art forms and I think we can expect some amazing things from the theatre as they continue to develop. You can catch the show in Raleigh or Asheville this summer. Visit foxandbeggar.com.
As for ongoing productions you can catch this week, Wednesday through Saturday, is Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre’s final performances for its 2016 season: The Golden Apple, The Pirate Prince and Pathway to Freedom on select dates. !