Review of 'The Moscow State Circus: Gostinitsa'

The last time we visited the Moscow State Circus their performance was called “Rasputin” which we found quite dark and a bit creepy so we were a bit hesitant before booking tickets to their new show “Gostinitsa” (“Hotel of Curiousities”) but we decided to give it a go helped along with the fact that the show was only a short distance from our house and we were able to find half price tickets. We are very glad we went as we had a tremendous time with this fun, fast-paced and jaw-dropping show.

The large red big top tent was set up in Shepherd's Bush Green and pretty much fills one entire half of the space with the various trailers of the show around it. There is a large ticket kiosk (trailer) but tickets can also be purchased advance on-line. They have quite nice flushable toilets on-site just outside the entrance for which there were large queues in the 20 minute interval. Entering the tent the front foyer area is quite large with a big concession stand selling popcorn, soft drinks, water and hot dogs (fairly expensive but not as much as what you might pay at a cinema nowadays).


In one corner there is a small bar area selling beer and some other alcoholic drinks and cocktails. Then at another desk they were selling very nice wooden Russian nesting dolls.


In the auditorium there are several tiers of tickets (this is from their web site) surrounding the circular ring in the middle of the tent:

  • Rear Circle - Tiered seating with a restricted view of stage (unreserved seats)
  • Side Circle - Tiered seating with a side view of stage (unreserved seats)
  • Grandstand - Tiered seating with a front view of stage (located above the “deluxe” seats below; unreserved seats)
  • Grandstand Deluxe - Deluxe cushioned seats on first five rows facing stage (reserved seats)
  • VIP Ringside - Three rows of individual chairs all of which are on floor level and surround the stage (reserved seats)

We had seats in the “grandstand” which I have to think were the best in the house in the second row above the “deluxe” seats which offered a great view of the ring but also of the entire tent interior meaning you missed nothing including the clowns attacking, sorry, entertaining people in the crowds!


Our entertainment began even when entering to take our seats with the attendants joking with the crowd by telling them things like “sorry, your ticket is for the wrong day” or “sorry you need to go back to the ticket booth” only to say a few minutes later with a big smile “Just kidding!” The whole afternoon was relaxed like this with a lot of fun.

The performance was based around the idea of a hotel with the stage having the check-in desk for the hotel at the back on the left that was occupied for most of the performance by the “check-in clerk” occasionally with the “back in 5 minutes” sign in front. Two doors at the back of the ring were used as props throughout and for the performers to enter the ring. The first scene saw all of the acts come and “check in” to the hotel picking up their numbered keys and hinting at the acts to follow.

The acts were incredible taking fairly standard circus acts and taking it just that little bit further making it into something special. For example, a unicycle act where the performer would jump from unicycle to unicycle while they circled around the ring. He was even using a unicycle that was simply a wheel with two pedals basically just attached to the rim – Minimalist to the extreme. A balancing act where 12-15 foot poles were balanced on the top of the performers head while others climbed and did acrobatics on the tops of the poles! A teeter-totter act where they launched performers into the very top of the tent who then caught and threw around other acrobats around the tent - The mid-air transfer between the two tetter-totter boards was truly breathtaking. The high-wire act where they went back and forth on top of one another, two or three at a time, never mind the angled wires that they climbed to get up to the wire in the first place! All pretty spectacular stuff with a high-energy rock soundtrack.

There was no master of ceremonies as each act just flowed from one to another with the necessary setup times between acts filled with antics by the clowns - The bell hop who had a bit of a crush on a serving maid. They did the requisite humiliation of various audience members and were very much enjoyed and genuinely talented performers in their own right despite looking silly (the small magic tricks they did were quite good).

The only complaint I would have to make was that inside the tent on a warm spring afternoon was very, very hot though they did try to ventilate the space with giant fans when they could the first half, during the heat of the day, was very warm indeed but it cooled for the second half. The show was about 2 hours with a 20 minute interval.

Really enjoyed it and will look out for them next time they come to town. Highly recommended for not only good old-fashioned circus fun but also first class circus performers.


Review Date: 2017-04-08

Shepherd's Bush Green

Location: London (England)

Address: Shepherd's Bush Green LONDON ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Shepherd's Bush TUBE Shepherd's Bush Market


Shepherd's Bush Green is a large public triangular park in Shepherd's Bush on the west side of London. In recent years it has been refurbished and now has a war memorial in one corner and a children's play area in another with the rest of the space generally open parkland surrounded by trees. The green is often used for travelling circuses and carnivals.

During sunny days the park is wall to wall people enjoying the small patch of green in the area. At night it can be quite rowdy with the many nightclubs and bars nearby with the green quite a mess in the morning.

The Westfield shopping area is only a short walk on the other side of Shepherd's Bush tube station.