Arts » Theater + Dance

Review: Cirque Indy's Flight of the Living Dead

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Cirque Indy’s post-apocalyptic aerial show drew massive crowds to the Athenaeum Theatre last weekend. Under the premise that the undead (re: zombies) have conquered the planet, the performers operate as a traveling circus under the leadership of the notable Rob Johansen and Maria Meschi as sibling ring-master and mistress Will and Wick.

Act One consisted of the “Flight” portion of the show, as the audience was introduced to the plucky troupe, centering around the primadonna Zella and her lover, the strongman Titus. Sprinkled among the routines were moments of jest performed by a delightful trio of youthful sisters—Marley, Sprinkles, and Gemma—who added some much appreciated humor.

As the first act peaked with Titus proposing to Zella, the undead breached the theatre, abruptly killing most of the cast. Naturally, after the intermission came the “Living Dead” portion of the show.

Ironically, Act Two became far livelier than its predecessor, as the undead danced, prowled, and generally harassed the survivors until, one by one, they were all tragically turned into brain-lusting denizens of the underworld. Evidently, though heathen killing machines, the zombies did adhere to a political structure, serving under the monarchy of Peres, Queen of the Dead.

Played by Cirque Indy instructor Lisa Sangiorgio, the undead queen’s saucy dance and (literally) electric aerial display were energetic and entertaining. Eventually, even Zella and her hulky defender Titus resigned themselves to zombiedom after Marley mournfully accepts her sisters’ fates as well.

Marley’s funerary routine on red silks dropped from the ceiling was the highlight of the evening; despite being slow and sad after a night of quick movements and bright — at times, blinding — colors, this aerial display was actually quite beautiful and emotional. It was quite evident that the little zombie clown, played by Mary Brumbaugh, was the founder of Cirque Indy.

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