When I was a kid, I wanted to join the circus. Not because I had a horrible life that I needed to escape from, quite the opposite. I had loving and indulging parents who encouraged me to join gymnastics and pursue acrobatics, but it wasn’t enough- I wanted to be Robin from Batman, without, of course, ever losing my family in some horrible circus accident.
Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk reinforced all of the ideals I had as a child toward the circus and acrobatics, and for a live audience. The feats witnessed at this show were unprecedented; extreme and a little bit steampunk. A large industrial platform of poles and platforms was on stage, moved by penny-farthing bicycle wheels on either side. Acrobats, contortionists and clowns played around it dressed in 20’s steampunk attire, flipping themselves from branch to branch while flexing their incredible strength for the audience Saturday night at Centrepointe Theatre.
This 2 hours long performance was something that only comes around every so often. A circus is easy enough to find, but often holds an air of depression. The mistreated animals, the circus performers and unclean atmosphere are what adults often attribute to the fun, magical environment that they formerly thought of wistfully when they were children, but this was something completely out of the ordinary. 20-something adults with the strength to hold themselves completely horizontal flag-pole style, or as a contortionist looking gleefully over their own backwards thighs at an audience were the circus performers experienced Saturday night. An outrageous amount of strongmen, tightrope walkers and BMX style riders entertained the Nepean audience with everything from clown-like antics to incredible feats of strength.
Cirque Mechanics is put together by creative director Chris Lashua and performed internationally for the delight of BMX riders and circus lovers. They travel between the states and Canada performing their steampunk themed performances in 45 minute increments for a total of about 2.5 hours. Even after being a frequenter of the circus for many years, I still covered my eyes as a woman dead-dropped towards a stage and stopped herself short of plummeting to her death by the strength in her legs around a rope. I screamed when one of the performers bounced themselves head first from the rafters into a trampoline and landed on their feet on the stage. I laughed until I cried when they incorporated clowning into their routine, knocking over the overly flexible and heavily muscled strongmen lifting the acrobats into the air by just their feet. Never have I seen such a show of strength, flexibility and control over a person’s body.
The audience ate every thrill up. Everyone from young children to grown adults gasped, laughed and applauded the performance on stage. People cheered the cleverly anticipated death-defying tricks, myself among them. Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk was a performance that you would be lucky to see once in a lifetime, but fortunately continues throughout the rest of Ontario for the next few weeks. Stay tuned to their website for the next opportunity to see this amazing feat of strength, flexibility and coordination from these talented performers.