Tdaring motorcycle cowboys race up a ramp at high speed, take off and fly 50 meters through the air on their machines. Flic Flac, the circus with the spectacular stunts, is back. After a compulsory Corona break of one and a half years, the company has now dared to start again as the first major German circus – with a rapid performance in a new tent in Duisburg that is equipped for corona. Those who want to enter must show proof of vaccination or a rapid test, the G3 rule applies. In the case of “Krone”, “Roncalli” and the other famous circuses, however, it currently looks as if they will no longer offer a program this year.
“Permanent” is the name of the new Flic Flac show – and the name says it all. Because the circus company has now chosen Duisburg as a permanent location. Anyone who wants to experience freestyle motorcycle jumpers and other breakneck artistry including weird comedy must travel to the mouth of the Ruhr in the future. Flic Flac will no longer go on tour. For now, anyway. The company announced that the plan to settle permanently in Duisburg had matured during the Corona break after all attempts to travel again had failed due to the cities’ different pandemic regulations.
This is good news for Duisburg. In any case, an envoy from the town hall spoke at the premiere of a “sign of departure” for the city. Within walking distance of the main train station, the city wants to build a new quarter on the site of the former freight station, with Flic Flac as the flagship, which is intended to attract visitors from all over the country. Like the roller-skating musical “Starlight Express” in neighboring Bochum, which has been flourishing for 33 years and has so far attracted a total of around 17 million visitors.
What they can do, we have to do, too, says Flic Flac. The circus company founded in 1989 by the brothers Benno and Lothar Kastein and their wives also offers spectacular technology and a rousing show, whose “Starlight Express” boasts, with daring stunts, shrill rock music and elaborate light, laser and Pyrotechnics has developed its very own style that also captivates a younger audience.
Meanwhile, Larissa and Tatjana, Benno Kastein’s two daughters, run this special circus, which completely dispenses with animal performances and instead relies on daring artistry. The brand essence of Flic Flac includes the “Mad Flying Bikes”, the motorcycle cowboys who show sensational tricks with names like “Shaolin” or “Backflip” during their flights through the arena, as well as the motorcycle Helldrivers from the “Globe of” Speed ”, who at the end of their number eight race back and forth in a steel ball along the walls.
The classic artist numbers are also risky, because at Flic Flac the trapeze artists and strap-on virtuosos usually work without a net or safety line. Super Silva Jr., for example, a world-class artist from Brazil, walks from one bow in the ceiling to the next, hanging upside down at a dizzying height. For many, the most aesthetically pleasing performance was shown at the premiere by the duo Yuliya Shauchenka and Valentyn Shevchenko: While artificial rain trickles down from above, the couple floats up and down on their straps with the most intimate tenderness.
With the Russian Boris Nikishkin, who appears under the stage name Alfonse Coconut, Flic Flac has also found a modern clown who hits the nerve of the audience. After a parody of the previous handstand number of the excellent Alena Zhuravel, it turned out that the comedy man is also an excellent handstand artist.
Circus director Tatjana Kastein noted after the successful performance that she must have dropped a hundredweight load from her shoulders. Yes, she told the FAZ, the involuntary break of one and a half years had put a heavy burden on everyone. But she and her team would have used the break as an opportunity to develop new ideas for the circus of tomorrow. This is how the plan to set up a permanent location in Duisburg came about. The first step has now been taken. It remains to be seen whether the concept of stopping touring to the audience and luring visitors to Duisburg will work. For the time being, Flic Flac has planned for half a year. If things go well, the circus could start expanding the permanent quarters.
But the circus will still be traveling for its Christmas shows. There will be guest performances in Dortmund, Bielefeld, Kassel and Nuremberg.