"Dazzling" ★★★★ - Trevor Johnston, TIME OUT LONDON
“Astonishing scenes of strippers, acrobats, clowns, high-wire walkers, human cannonballs, boxing kangaroos and monkeys on bikes” – Geoffrey Macnab, THE INDEPENDENT
With an original score by Georg Holm and Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós, with Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Kjartan Holmwith
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, it’s perfectly okay to stare. Prepare to embark on a spectacular non-narrative journey through a century of lost circus and vaudeville arts. Meet the often-itinerant performers of fairground attractions and the more polished stars of yesterday’s big-top shows, the daredevils, the beauty contestants, the “freaks”, join us in walking among the audiences of a bygone world. The acrobatics are death-defying. The sheer physicality of performance is mindblowing. The sights on display are consistently unlike anything you will encounter in today’s age, in or out of a circus tent, carefully assembled, presented without commentary and set to a bedazzling score by members of Sigur Rós and an Icelandic choir.
From cabarets and freak shows to insane high-wire acts, boxing kangaroos and everything in between, director Benedikt Erlingsson (OF HORSES AND MEN) has crafted an exhaustively researched visual archive of a yesterday universe where individualistic performers travelled the world to hustle and charm all comers. There is, of course a darker shadow as well. From outrageous animal stunts that regularly defy logic and compassion to children being put in very real danger, it’s easy to understand why a number of the acts depicted here would never be permissible today. A dreamy, beautiful, eerie poem of a film, packed with astonishing footage that often dates back over a century, THE SHOW OF SHOWS is coming to town to amaze you with its cavalcade of curiosities.
— Mitch Davis