Dynamic New Animation, Skin Deep Circus

Review in Issue 14-4 | Winter 2002

The point of reference for Skin Deep Circus is the fairground sideshows of yore – using puppets as a means to illustrate the spectacle and voyeurism, in observing the ‘alternative’, the ‘unique’ and the ‘curious’. The simple narrative is constructed around the lives of the characters, who were based upon real people who frequented these sideshows, including the stereotypically sinister and creepy ringmaster, who had himself a hidden uniqueness under his hat…

As each character was introduced, the more disturbing the content became. The small, musty and tatty tent changed from an exciting and curious spectacle into a surreal and ominous display of fragile and exploited characters, which indeed made for a thought-provoking and absorbing performance.

Ivan Ivanitch’s Flying Fleas were hilarious as they danced in unison across the small stage, legs akimbo and crying out like the Bluebell Girls of can-can. In contrast however, Sammy Stonehead was a sad little man who could barely walk across the stage for the weight of his heavy head, although he triumphed as the hero at the end of the tale.

At times the pace and flow was a little erratic, but maybe this was due to the show requiring a larger audience to do justice to the atmosphere that was being produced. The show held multiple references, creating many layers to engage with, supported by the strengths of the performances and the humorous undertones which helped to break some of the more disconcerting elements. Skin Deep Circus will most certainly leave a lasting impression on its spectators, as did the sideshows of the past.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-4
p. 28 - 29