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Boom Town

This Western-inspired circus at The New Victory is the perfect show for kids.

A scene from Boom Town
(© Darin Basile)
Cirque Mechanics' Boom Town, now playing The New Victory Theater, is the perfect show for kids. Inspired by early mining equipment and the spirit of adventure that brought prospectors and entrepreneurs alike out West to search for gold, the show abounds with constant eye candy and hokey humor as artists utilize one-of-a-kind machines that allow for creative demonstrations of the human body's capabilities.

Here, freight trains act as trampolines and a wagon wheel is transformed into a chandelier, from which the acrobats fly high over the audience. Ballerinas balance themselves upside down on tiny poles, and clowns juggle pickaxes. Indeed, Boom Town is performed without voice, relying completely on the Western sets and the ability of the performers' actions and animation to tell the story.

Among the standout performers are Steven Ragatz (also billed as the show's co-author), who dons the obscenely baggy overalls and oversize boots of a harebrained miner, along with a long, scraggly beard. His persona is brought alive by his huge eyes and animated expressions. An entertaining balancer, juggler, and jokester, he easily steals the show.

Look for beautiful high-flying acts from Kerren McKeeman and Hannah French, both of whom make the art graceful as they dance through the air. McKeeman even manages to balance her entire body by the back of her neck as she is floating over the room. Their strength and talent are inspirational for the young women in their midst.

Not all of the performers keep the audience's interest. Charlotte Greenblatt, the resident hand balancer, shakes so much with the exertion of holding herself up that it's more cringe-worthy than impressive to watch. Elena Day, one of two so-called "clowns," performs her bit behind a screen, creating shadows with objects, which quickly wears out its welcome. Indeed, Boom Town would have benefited from adding a few more artists with unique abilities and simultaneously shortening some of its less-exciting acts.