Chasing the dragons

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The Independent Culture
Chasing the dragons

There once was a man who balanced some chairs on top of some bottles, on top of a small table, on top of a large table, until he reached the roof of the theatre. He perched on top as the pieces of furniture tottered on two legs. Why didn't he die? The 20 Golden Dragon Acrobats of Taipei show why not in London this week. Acrobatics is big business in Taiwan (big enough to require a Trade Union of Acrobatic Dance), and as the touring wing of the country's national acrobatic training institute, the "Dragons" have some claim to pre-eminence. In America, they are more popular than those Edinburgh Festival evergreens, the Chinese State Circus, and their spectacular skills have regularly earned them Best Act award from the National Association of Campuses. Expect magic tricks, lots of leaping through fire, and the kind of human pyramids that would make the Sphinx's jaw drop. And expect performers forcing sharp metal rods against one another's throats until they bend (the rods not the throats). The words "Don't try this at home" come to mind.

Fairfield Hall, Croydon, 8pm Tue 21 Feb (081-688 9291); Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm Wed 22 Feb (071-928 8800)