The circus from town is coming to town! The Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama features Denver's own Handsome Little Devils Productions. Starting October 16, this troupe will be offering its memorizing cirque/vaudevillian act at the Lone Tree Arts Center. "We call it a vaudevillian melodrama," says Mike Huling, actor and artistic director of HLDP. "Essentially, the melodrama part is really cartoony, and the story-telling moves pretty fast, it's playful and fun." The vaudeville part includes juggling chainsaws and knocking roses out of people's mouths with whips -- highly skilled acts.
"There's very few things to compare it to," says Huling of Squirm Burbee Circus. "It does not disappoint audiences."
The concept debuted off Broadway a few years ago and has been going strong ever since. "This year we did close to 350 shows," says Huling.
The performance centers on The Baron Vegan von Hamburger, who is the humble host of the show and the sworn enemy of the Squirm Burpee Circus. He is in a constant struggle with Mike the Handsome and Dashing Dave, a pair of world-class jugglers and vaudeville performers. Dashing Dave can't seem to help falling in love with an audience member every show, while the Lovely Little Lolo chases around Mike, vying for his heart. Comedy ensues around the three -- and all the while, the Baron is plotting to destroy them and their circus.
Many of the actors that appear in Squirm Burpee are world-class circus performers. "We've had a lot of people that are really excited to take a break from Cirque du Soleil, and come work in our show," says Huling.
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Huling says that the circus performance world is a small one. When he met famous clown Jimmy Slonina, he got access to a new network of performers. Huling once aspired to reach the Cirque du Soleil; now those actors appear in his own shows. "The caliber of the actors, it's not something you would see at a birthday party," he says.
And for his troupe, the Lone Tree gig is a particularly welcome one, since they're based in Denver. "It's not like a drive to the East Coast and do one show and come home," Huling points out. "We get to be at our home base, so the show will be more elaborate in a lot of ways."
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Squirm Burpee: A Vaudevillian Melodrama opens at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 16 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, with evening shows through Sunday, October 20. For tickets and more information, to to the Lone Tree Arts Center website.