Friday’s opening night to 1001 Nights was my first experience with Circus Juventas. In the past, Anne has jumped at these these reviews. She thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Neverland and the Wizard of Oz in 2013. I knew from her reviews that I should expect a long night and that I was going to enjoy myself, but that didn’t really cover it. I don’t believe you can read a review and really understand how amazing a Circus Juventas performance is to watch. In fact, I’ve watched the professionals of Cirque du Soleil on television and, although, I enjoyed it, the television couldn’t even come close to capturing the live performance. It is just something everyone should see at least once in their lives.
Have you ever been so mesmerized by a performance you forgot you should be clapping? That was my experience at Circus Juventas. I knew that these were young people who had worked really hard and deserved applause. I was also aware that, as it was opening night, a good portion of the audience was likely their parents whose support would be necessary for any young person to operate at this level of excellence. The parent side of me knew I should be loudly showing my appreciation, but the selfish audience portion of me just wanted to take it all in.
Obviously, you can see I recommend 1001 Nights for adults, but what about your children? It is not necessarily for every child.
Is 1001 Nights right for you and your kids?
Because it is a three-hour story with a plot — not just random performances, I would recommend going to a matinee if you plan to go with younger children. It’s not the kind of performance you will want to leave early. My date was 10, and the evening got a little late for her. My five year old would not have done well at all, but I think he could have handled the matinee. Anne kept up a running commentary the year she took a six year old.
It would also be a good plan to familiarize your family with the Arabian Nights tales, or at least with Disney’s Aladdin. Knowing the story, it was easy to follow, but I’m not sure how much my daughter followed. Luckily, she saw Aladdin at Stages a couple years ago, so she was at least familiar with that portion of the story.
This is another highly sensory performance. The music booming is a excellent cross between traditional Middle Eastern and rock (maybe even metal) music. It’s loud. There are several different acrobatic performances happening simultaneously. At one point bright lights are flashed into the audience. This caused my daughter, who was fighting off a headache, to finally lose that battle. These are all things to keep in mind if you have a sensory sensitive child (or one who suffers migraines). However, for the rest of us, these are positive things. You will not have a chance to be bored. I was incredibly impressed with the music and the choreography. I could have done without the flashing bright light.
My favorite parenting moment was when I asked my daughter at the intermission how she liked it and she answered, “It’s not real, no one can actually do that stuff.”
I received two tickets to this performance to facilitate my review. The opinions are my own.