Paranormal Cirque @ The St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
“The circus is the only fun you can buy that is good for you.” - Ernest Hemingway

After reviewing and photographing Circus Flora, the local St. Louis permanent circus, I was certainly ready for this years production. Enter Paranormal Cirque! As if it was a sign from the circus gods, their ads were plastered on my favorite social media sites. Maybe there is something to this algorithm thing?

So with my curiosity peaked, I contacted their PR staff about covering this production. In researching their history, I found this show is put on by Cirque Italia. Cirque Italia is a large operation also running a Water Circus as well. As for the Paranormal Cirque, it appears this is somewhat of a new venture for Cirque Italia. Paranormal Cirque bills itself as part circus, theater, and cabaret. Let’s see how close they come to filling the bill.

The setting is the St. Louis Galleria parking lot. A large, red and black tent is set up with Paranormal Cirque semi-trailers securing the tents perimeter. I was advised to get there 45 minutes early to see the pre-production. I’m still looking for that. Entering the tent you’re greeted by some creepy characters. A chainsaw-wielding ghoul, a makeshift graveyard, and of course, concession sales. While waiting to be seated, I did have one of the performers who was crawling on her hands and knees grab at my ankle as I took a step forward. That was creepy!

The show opens with a grim reaper-type fella announcing there will be no video or photographing of the performance. The Cirque could definitely use a sound system upgrade, as this announcement was mainly inaudible. Alright, a few early glitches but I’m confident redemption is inevitable. Here come the gymnasts! A troupe of talented, acrobatic zombies open the show with a bang and the audience applause confirms this act is a hit!

The Cirque’s MC, a small clown, makes his first appearance wandering the audience looking for a strong man. While he’s out and about he does embarrass those in attendance, but hey, that’s his job. Don’t be offended! He finds his strong man, who happens to turn into a plate-spinning chef, zombie vampire, and magician. Some audience members are more talented than others!

This show is R-rated, if you’re easily offended, stay home. Adult humor is speckled throughout the performance. I can most liken it to a burlesque show. There is plenty of audience interaction as well, so if you’re in the first few rows, you may be a target! The performers did seem to gravitate toward attractive females.

A Cyr Wheel artist and an Aerial Arts performer close the first half of the show. There was a lengthy segment with main actor, James Giroldin, as a movie director I could have done without. But the audience did seem receptive, so maybe it was just me! Overall, I’ll give the Paranormal Cirque a B- at the intermission. Hurry folks, it’s only a 15-minute intermission but this line for the bathroom is about 30 minutes long!

Well, I made it through the bathroom line, the lobby is empty, so it must be time for the second half of the show! The second segment opens with the Cirque diva, Olivia Mattice, a coffin, and Giroldin returning as zombie magician. An assortment of fairly basic tricks follow. The body exchange, the spikes in the box, the split in half box, and the vanishing lady. Now don’t get me wrong, I love magic tricks, but I just wish there would have been something new and different.

Throw in some scantily-clad dancing assistants and this completes the show. The performers take their bows and receive a partial standing ovation for their efforts. My grade after the second half, a solid C+. Personally, I could have seen more acrobatics, more entertainment than tricks we’ve all seen before. If this is a newer production from Cirque Italia, I can’t imagine it will only get better with time! Thanks to the PR staff at Cirque Italia for being very accommodating!

Photos of the performance are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Paranormal Cirque @ The St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis, MO Paranormal Cirque @ The St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on June 25, 2019 Rating: 5
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