Circus of the surreal

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The Independent Online
If you thought going to the circus was one of those irrecoverable childhood pleasures - like going to the zoo - that somehow don't seem as attractive when you're grown-up, then Cirque Surreal might be for you. Billed as the State Circus of Imagination, and currently on a nationwide tour, it is the brainchild of Phillip Gandey, the impresario behind the Chinese State Circus, who aims to delight the most cynical of fin-de-siecle audiences. There's something for everyone. Pseudo-intellectuals who wince at the idea of something so frivolous as a circus should know that the programme quotes at length the founding father of Surrealism, Andre Breton. Eco-sensitives will not be distressed by the sight of a mangy tiger being humiliated, because it's completely animal-free. People of a certain age, who keep their Yes records hidden, might raise an eyebrow to hear that there's a specially-commissioned score by keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. And finally, anyone interested in dance and theatre should warm to the story of Trevor, the 4ft dwarf whose imaginary friends come to life. As the programme urges: "Imagine a kaleidoscopic collage of body upon body, paint on canvas, silk on flesh accompanied by the sensual throb of wild music." This might just describe your daily life already, but if not, grab this opportunity to escape for a couple of hours.


Peel Park, Bradford to 28 Jun (01274 371582)