Sorkaboni & Musorika is a circus dressed up as a fairy tale—sort of
Scripted by Sabrina Sandberg. Directed by Sabrina Sandberg and Katie Cresswell. Musical direction by Alison Dalton. A Random Acts of Circus presentation at the Waterfront Theatre on Wednesday, January 5. Continues until January 16
Sorkaboni & Musorika is a circus dressed up as a fairy tale—sort of. The circus flies, but the fairy tale exhausts itself by intermission.
Sabrina Sandberg’s script simultaneously borrows and skewers fairy tale conventions: a handsome prince in a peaceful kingdom promises to slay an ogre to protect a damsel in distress. The Prince (Stanislav Galimkhanov) is attended by a servant, Mouse (Katie Cresswell), and harassed by two Imps (Dana Sorensen and Sandberg). But the plot is only important in that it provides opportunities for the performers to show off their circus skills. It’s impressive that Tristan Bacon’s Narrator can tell us a story while doing stunts on a trapeze (in dress pants and a waistcoat, no less), but the trapeze and hoop routines performed early on by Mouse and the Imps become somewhat repetitive because the show hasn’t yet found its shape. Things pick up when the Prince’s cloak transforms into aerial silks. Mouse tries to help him get untangled, and his supposed ineptitude offers a showcase for Galimkhanov’s graceful athleticism.
The plot thickens with the arrival of the damsel, Musorika (Julie Chapple), and her ogre, Sorkaboni (Dominique LeBlanc), and the discovery of the magical powers of the Prince’s crown. The first act features sexy aerial duets for the title characters and impressive group choreography (including a delicious parody of all things ballet) to some of classical music’s greatest hits, performed by a five-piece orchestra under keyboardist Alison Dalton’s direction.
The second act dips into metatheatricality when the performers become aware of the audience and try to create their own story. This idea isn’t sufficiently developed to add anything to the show, and the performers’ forays into the audience feel like a waste of everyone’s time. But when they return to the stage, the carefully choreographed chaos of their acrobatics is enchanting.
Barbara Morrison and Charlotte Burke’s costumes and Sean Malmas’s set, which features a giant mountain, add to the visual appeal. Standouts in the young, energetic cast are Chapple as the oh-so-bored Musorika, Cresswell as the put-upon Mouse, and Sandberg and Sorensen as the butt-slapping, mischief-making Imps. All of the performers display impressive circus skills, though they haven’t quite mastered the art of making their stunts look effortless.