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Lucky (Atlas Circus Company)

A fresh breeze of family-oriented entertainment from Atlas Circus Company at a gay and lesbian arts center.

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Russel Norris, Henry Evans, Avery Deutsch and Leo Abel in a scene from Atlas Circus Company’s “Lucky” (Photo credit: Peter Yesley)

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

The Atlas Circus Company’s family-friendly Lucky seemed an odd fit with the usual programming at Dixon Place, the home of Lesbian and Gay culture in the Lower East Side. Lucky was, nevertheless, a charmer and a chance for the usual—and unexpected—audiences to bring their kids to experience the amenable ambiance of Dixon Place. And, to be sure, there were a number of eager, involved youngsters in the house to experience this hybrid of vaudeville, circus arts, Commedia, Bill Irwin, Marcel Marceau, silent films and a touch of Sid Caesar that told the story of an everyman, Lucky, who finds himself totally overwhelmed by the Big City.

Even before the show began, cast member Leo Abel used his charm to persuade two young boys from the audience to sweep the stage and dust the piano, making very sure they got it just right.

The audience was entranced even before Lucky began with the entrance of the title character played by the boyish, agile Henry Evans, director of Atlas. The mysterious, but obvious, placement of a banana peel on the floor very close to the audience provided just a bit of tension. Will someone slip on the banana peel? What do you think?

Henry Evans in in a scene from Atlas Circus Company’s “Lucky” (Photo credit: Peter Yesley)

Lucky is divided into short sections that took the exuberantly naïve character from his initial wanderings about the Big City to a number of soulless jobs to falling in love and even, for a particularly spectacular moment, floating high above the stage on a girder construction that offered seemingly scores of ways to hang off it.

Watching Evans being bossed around by the tall beanpole Russel Norris, whether in an office job, cleaning a park or waiting on tables, was to watch classic comedy performed with brilliant, but invisible timing. (Credit choreographer Tyler Holobaski for his seamless contributions.)

Handsome Leo Abel provided yet another comic foil for Lucky whether trying to steal his briefcase or disturb his sleep. The calm, lovely Avery Deutsch was the unattainable love interest.

David Evans, Russel Norris, Avery Deutsch, Henry Evans and Leo Abel in a scene from Atlas Circus Company’s “Lucky” (Photo credit: Peter Yesley)

David Evans provided the sparkling musical soundscape, sometimes playing along with fifties and sixties style musical ditties.

The flowing scenery included ever-changing cityscapes on the back wall. Alex Womer’s exacting lighting design helped turn the Dixon Place performing space into a multitude of places.

Co-created by Henry Evans and Tommy McCarthy, with creative input by comedic consultant Robbie Motz and the entire cast, Lucky was a fresh breeze, the kind of joyous, human-scaled entertainment that is desperately needed.

Lucky (through August 16, 2017)
Atlas Circus Company
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, visit
Running time: one hour with no intermission

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Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (526 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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