Lights! Action!

08/06/2007
By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online.

By NANCYE TUTTLE
Sun Staff

LOWELL Kids love over-the-top entertainment, shows that make them "ooh and ahh" with delight, giggle and poke their younger sibs in the ribs.

That's what's in store on Sunday when the Discovery Series at UMassLowell presents Lazer Vaudeville.

Imaginations take a crazy trip during the hourlong show, which is jam-packed with laser beams, acrobatics, zany comedy and fantastical characters including a neon cowboy.

Alfonzo, a 7-foot-tall, fire-breathing dragon, hosts the quirky, contemporary blend of high-tech laser magic and traditional vaudeville.

The show comes from the creative mind of Carter Brown, who is fulfilling his dream of bringing contemporary vaudeville to the American stage and has toured his act since 1987.

An internationally acclaimed vaudeville master, he performs the endangered art of hoop rolling. In an unusual visual display, up to 10 hoops some of them century-old wooden bike rims roll around the juggler's body and circle the stage as if taking on a life of their own.

Brown also collaborates with fellow performers Cindy Marvell and Nicholas Flair to fly indoor kites, spin glowing staffs and juggle running chainsaws.

"The kind of juggling we do blows away everybody's concept of what juggling is all about," Brown notes in press material.

The troupe creates pinwheel illusions and percussive sounds with South American bolas and bounces balls off airborne drums in an ensemble piece.

Massachusetts-based Maia Robbins-Zust of Berkshire Production Resources designed the company's fiber-optic scenery, complete with a floating castle that lights up the stage and a monument valley that glows in moonlight.

The company performs to composer Jesse Manno's original soundtrack, which music mixes electronic noise with Turkish guitar, Macedonian tambura, Greek bouzouki, Australian didijeridu and Irish fiddle.

The act has performed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and won a featured spot in the PBS special Juggling Work with Family. It has also toured internationally, including theater festivals in England, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Bermuda, and Saudi Arabia.

"Lazer Vaudeville offers a rare brand of clean, classy fun for the entire family," said Christine Brown, director of the series.

Lazer Vaudeville is fun for all ages.

Nancye Tuttle's e-mail address is ntuttle@lowellsun.com .