Cirque Reynier is a French travelling circus company that offers a 2 hour performance for 12-15 euros (depending on seat type). The venue was surprisingly good, seeing as the ring was set up the night before and was able to withstand gale-force winds that happened to be blowing in the French alpine region of Les Deux Alpes.
Whilst being seated and waiting for the audience to fill up, traditional circus music was being played. This helped to create a circus atmosphere within the tent. The mild smell of horses and the stronger smell of popcorn also added to the atmosphere within the tent. The ring had a diameter of around 10 metres and was used effectively to make the spectacle of the animals seem more exciting. Having large animals perform in a small area increased the impressiveness of the feats.
The costumes were professional and the character known as "Reynier" played a variety of roles. Ring leader, horse trainer and clown. Each costume was convincingly suited and the senior members of the cast stayed in character throughout the duration of the performance (the younger members of the cast sometimes lost focus). The make-up, notably that of the clown, was reconisably rushed because of the changing of roles throughout the performance. But it was nevertheless convincing.
The performance was very authentic and some of the acts were somewhat controversial since the animals were blatently not enjoying the acts. Some of the human performances were weak and boring, whereas others were somewhat exciting but nothing special.
If you can speak French, can spare 15 euros for a ringside seat, and want to experience an authentic travelling circus, then this is perhaps an ideal way to spend at afternoon. But definitly not worth seeing more than once since the acts are fairly poor. Make sure to bring several friends as the most interesting thing about this circus is the discussion afterwards about the appropriateness of what you have just witnessed.
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