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“Astounding Show”

Shanghai Circus World
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Shanghai Circus World: ERA Intersection of Time...
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Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Multimedia Theatrical Spectacular 'ERA Intersection of Time' has been performed since its debut at Shanghai Circus World in September 2005. It is unique and comparable to the tradition of the Broadway Musical.It is in fact a stunning acrobatic show combining traditional Chinese arts and modern technologies. The performers present Chinese acrobatics, martial arts and dance perfectly in harmony with the music, sound, lighting, and other special effects, which include a water screen.While you marvel at the highly proficient skills of the performers, the story of China's evolution from its ancient past to the future is told. Hence, the title 'Intersection of Time', as the viewpoint of the audience is set in the present between the past and the future.The performance provides a wonderful insight into China's ancient culture and civilization, with sections about Sinan, an ancient Chinese invention for telling directions, soothsaying and conjuring. There is a fantastic section showing an acrobatic program which has elements performed since the far off days of the Han Dynasty (206BC–220AD). With porcelain jars and vats as their stage properties the performers give an overview of Chinese porcelain culture and greater understand of the country's name of 'China'.Modern achievements that are also showcased include Shanghai Donghai Cross-Sea Bridge, Maglev Train, and Shenzhou 5, China's first manned space mission. From these, you can see the amazing development and bright future of Shanghai and the whole country.The 100-minute performance shows not only artistic skills, but also creativity. Aided by multimedia including vision, original live music, sound effects, smell effect, air conditioning and lighting,
Reviewed September 19, 2013

Go there for the show! Do not over analyse it! Do not expect the Cirque du Soleil! It is in a different league, but fun for the whole family, and so enjoyable.
Our performance was faultless, and our front row seats put us in there with the action.
The performers are so multi talented. The motorcycle stunt with 5-6 bikes in the ball took the cake.

Thank Gus116
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 19, 2013

I saw the show ERA "Intersection of Time" while visiting Shanghai on a business trip. I thought it was a beautiful show with some astonishing acts. I'm a fan of "America's Got Talent", and some of these acts were similar to what you might see on that show. The acrobats were so impressive and everything was made better because it was a relatively small circular theater with only about 15-20 rows of seats so you feel like you are very close to the action. That made it better than a Big Top circus or Vegas show for me. When I told my Chinese co-workers that I was going, they rolled their eyes a bit because they considered it to be a Westernized Chinese performance rather than an authentic Chinese experience, and it's true that the music and story had a fair amount of Western influence, but I had a great time, and the audience was probably 90% Chinese, so I think they are fans too. Highly entertaining, highly recommended.

Thank Harry J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

This show has some really great performers doing amazing things. It's easy to get a little jaded on circus performers as it is true that there is not much new under the sun here - contortionists, trampoline acrobats, feats of leaping and tumbling, seesaw springboard jumping, aerial silks, motorcycles in the cage, etc etc. One spinning human-powered ferris wheel is a bit less tired but even it has been done. Still, even lacking in originality, the individual performances are all incredible. It's always amazing to me to see what we humans are capable of achieving when applied ruthlessly to a task. The Chinese culture seems particularly adept at turning out world-class performers of this variety, even if it's a bit unsettling at times.

It's a shame the venue and production are not up to par with the performers. The arena is rather shabby and despite claims of millions of dollars poured into the production, it's not all that evident from the staging. The props are a little dingy. An opening act behind a glass curtain of sorts reveals the glass to be sort of faded and scratched, and metal frames between panes obstruct the view. One spinning set of hoops failed to spin, and one of the performers had to briefly fiddle with the motor to get it going. One lit-up bicycle looks like something strung together from Toys-R-Us rope lights. The whole facility could use a facelift. Concessions are a little funky. Technical effects like projected screens fail to achieve full impact, and the soundstage, with speakers only located up behind the performers, lacks a fully immersive feeling.

Cirque du Soleil has really set the standard for this kind of production, and this performance comes off as a second- or even third-rate CdS. It's clearly derivative, having taken cues from CdS production themes - performers on elevated side stages illuminated by backlighting, abstract themes of life and time communicated less elegantly or convincingly. Given a few slipups by the performers (in three tries, they never pulled off the final tumbling pass) it's probably also true that the very best performers have been picked off by better paying acts. Even the venue, which should have a leg up on CdS due to its permanent, dedicated purpose, compares very unfavorably.

Further detracting from the performance is the fact that it apparently caters mostly to large groups. I had no problem procuring a same-day single ticket, and when I arrived it was clear well over 90% of the audience arrived on a bus. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it did not make for a particularly charged audience atmosphere. At times the performers would implore the audience to clap; invariably the audience response was weak and half-hearted. This detracted from the show's general impact, and even the performers' enthusiasm. I was surrounded by a high school group with quite a few desultory teens mostly determined to appear unimpressed, though most of them eventually came halfway out of their shells. This added sort of a sad, stale tinge to the whole evening. Here are these little girls, likely plucked from their families as toddlers and pressed into a brutal and rigorous training regime, only to be yawned at by a mostly Western audience that can't even be bothered to clap.

Still, a circus is a circus and you will see things that make you ooh and ahh, shake your head in wonderment, even clutch your seat in fear. It's good fun for the whole family. But it is simply not on the level that Cirque du Soleil, which this is clearly intended to emulate, has achieved. Maybe it needs a sprinkle of some French Canadian je ne sais quoi.

Don't bother springing for the very best seats - the arena is quite small with steeply raked seating; even mid-tier tickets put you close enough to the performers to see them sweat.

2  Thank Douglas3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013

Using an all day pass for the metro station, alight at shanghai circus world stop, and just follow the exit. You can't miss the venue because its just few meters away from the exit. You cant take any photos or videos during the show to protect their copyrights. Its worth the travel via train.

Thank JohnValeza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 26, 2013

If compare it with Chao Yang in Beijing - I can say the level of the artists almost the same high, but it's a big step forward from the point of the show-making - the arena provides much more opportunities - besides, the orchestra and live vocal sometimes - it was really great. I absolutely share the opinion - if you didn't come here - you didn't know SH

1  Thank Andrey M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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