- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - “La Famiglia Dimitri,” a circus that just began a three-week run at the New Victory Theater, bounces along at a sweet, acoustic pace, as calm and bright-eyed as a toddler rising from a long, refreshing nap.

It is a family show in every way, with four of the five performers bearing the last name Dimitri (father “Clown” Dimitri, and children Masha, David and Nina), and with a friendly, 90-minute sampling of favorites: juggling, cycling, singing, high wires, tight wires and slack wires. The cast is energetic, confident and great to watch, especially the elder Dimitri as the chalk-haired fool and the statuesque Kai Leclerc in suspenders, square-patterned pants and a frog green shirt.

“Clown” Dimitri is the show’s creator; Masha Dimitri is director.

Developed in the 1970s in the Dimitris’ native Switzerland, “La Famiglia Dimitri” lets you imagine an age predating Cirque du Soleil, or even electricity. There is no video or recorded music or anything that couldn’t have been pulled off centuries ago. The best gags, hopefully, will still work in centuries to come: the shallow-headed Clown chasing a butterfly attached to the tip of a pole that runs down his back; Leclerc attempting to drink a glass of water while hanging upside down or dancing in a fat suit that makes him resemble a Vidalia onion.

This is circus not only for children, but for purists, as elemental for the connoisseur as a lecture on Socrates would be for a philosophy major. The Greeks had their theories about comedy, but they might have been stuck on how you can place a woman in a closet, separate the closet into four compartments and reassemble it without so much as wrinkling her blouse.



“La Famiglia Dimitri” runs through April 19.

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