Cirque Du Saigon

“Roll up. Roll up. It’s show time!” Well, I’m assuming that’s what the Vietnamese ringleader shouted over the speakers as we walked through Gia Đình park anyway…

Contortionists, clowns and gymnasts; all you’d expect from a normal circus really.

I’d read about the circus in July’s issue of Ơi Magazine and it looked like a fairly hilarious night out. I did a little bit of research and found the HCMC Circus website, which says that shows are performed every Saturday and Sunday evening at 7.30pm. On arrival, we were informed that this was in fact out-of-date information and that the show actually starts at 8pm. We were also informed that the online ticket price of 70,000vnd was also incorrect, and that tickets are now 120,000vnd. Who were we to argue with a price increase from £2 to £4 though really?

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The circus pavilion was as you’d imagine: a huge circular tent structure with tiered seating inside. With our tickets, we were allocated seats, which were the best in the house (being ‘tourists’ and all) but which also meant, the nearer it got to show time, the more and more we became surrounded by a sea of Vietnamese families. It soon became obvious that we were the warm up act.

Anyway at 8pm, music begins to blare from the speakers and my initial thought is ‘why am I at a Jewish wedding?’ The music was what you’d expect to be played during the Horah. The ring-leader arrived on stage, a woman dressed in a gorgeous, white Áo Dài, keeping things traditional. Shortly after, the acts followed:

The Clowns

The Clowns

The Contortionist

The Contortionist

Look at the angle of her back!!

Look at the angle of her back!!

The next act was a dog act. I didn’t take any photos because it was actually really difficult to watch. 4 dogs were brought on stage, all stuffed into a small cage. They first did a few Crufts-esque tricks, which were cute, but then they moved onto a ‘classroom’ sketch. During which, the dogs were clearly a little antsy and mischievous (I guess being cooped up in a cage for hours will do that to you) and whenever they misbehaved they received quite a severe slap on the head. I didn’t enjoy that.

I'm pretty sure the girl on the far left was a last-minute stand-in. She just couldn't keep the clubs in the air

I’m pretty sure the girl on the far right was a last-minute stand-in. She just couldn’t keep the clubs in the air

This balancing act guy wasn't really a crowd pleaser. He had one HUGE neck though!

This balancing-act guy wasn’t really a crowd pleaser. He had one HUGE neck though!

The snake act was truly terrifying - Tarzan kept kicking all 3 snakes to provoke an attack and when they wouldn't perform, he just pulled down their jaws to show the crowd the inside of their mouths. Not nice.

The snake act was truly terrifying – Tarzan kept kicking all 3 snakes to provoke an attack and when they wouldn’t perform, he just pulled down their jaws to show the crowd the inside of their mouths. Not nice.

Contortionist woman back, but this time with hoops. She had a bit of a maniac smile though.

Contortionist woman came back, but this time with hoops. She had a bit of a maniac smile though.

It's a human slinky!

It’s a human slinky!

 

 

The final act - very muscular men in huge iron wheels. Very Cirque Du Soleil!

The final act – very muscular men in huge iron wheels. Very Cirque Du Soleil!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the night was hilarious, it wasn’t quite the glamorous affair it’s depicted to be online, or even in Ơi. But, to be fair, I think my overall view of the evening was probably tarnished by my unnecessarily eager anticipation to see some trapeze artists, who obviously had the night off on this occasion.

Lowlight

The animal acts were too difficult to sit through. If you’re sensitive about animal cruelty, I wouldn’t advise going to this circus. Especially as, during peak season, they apparently introduce monkeys, elephants and horses into the mix.

Highlight

The clowns were genuinely hilarious and clearly loved to perform. (They weren’t too bad to look at either). Similarly, the contortionist-turned-hula-hoop woman was perhaps one of the most talented gymnasts I’ve ever seen. Although my loyalties still lie with Beth Tweddle, obviously.

Address:

Công Viên Gia Đình, Hoàng Minh Giám, Phường 9, Phú Nhuận, HCMC

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mike Lince
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 13:01:20

    I completely get the animal cruelty thing. After reading of one traveler’s story in Thailand on an elephant expedition, I won’t do that. They treat the animals badly, and their bruises look awful. The circus does have a Cirque du Soleil feel to it. Lots of fun photos – thank you for sharing. – Mike

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Aug 02, 2013 @ 16:00:48

      Yeah, a student recently told me that if you have a dog or a cat as a pet in Vietnam, they don’t even give them a name. I find it difficult that they can be so cruel sometimes. But it was a fun night nonetheless, so glad that comes off in the photos 🙂 thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

      Reply

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