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Alice is Wunderbar – Circolino Pipistrello

Circolino Pipistrello held the permiére of its 2012 circus show on Sunday at its winter camp near Rikon just outside Winterthur. Jo popped into the big top...

Circolino Pipistrello

Perched in the tip of the tent as high as a trapeze, Alice watches as a white rabbit circuits the stage on a unicycle and a couple of clowns perform pratfall with a ladder. Several women - all Alices - mime behind a door. A kitchen catches fire. I have no clue what is going on and, for once, it has nothing to do with my Swiss-German.

Circolino Pipistrello’s show is a surreal and fantastical Alice im Wunderland. If you thought the original couldn’t get any more bonkers, well - it can.

Pipistrello is more Cirque du Soleil than Barnum’s, so you will be relieved or disappointed (depending on your point of view) to hear that there are no animals, alarmingly bendy children or bearded women. There are fire eaters and a general sense of freakishness, but it’s all good, clean fun.

Circolino PipistrelloThe music is super, the big top is exciting but also intimate, and the pace is lively. The original Adventures are sympathetically translated into circus effects: Alice sliding down a ribbon from the heavens of the tent was a great version of her tumbling into the rabbit hole. The hookah-smoking Caterpillar is a Yogi on a trapeze. I think the mad kitchen represents the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (discuss...)?

The show is described as Zirkustheatre: There is dialogue and comedy as well as acrobatics and clowning, and it was way over the heads of my toddlers: The two-year-old lasted all of 15 minutes (he liked it, but insisted on talking loudly during the quiet bits and had to be removed) and the three-year-old had had enough by the intermission. That’s no disrespect to the Circolino, which was obviously going down a treat with the slightly older audience.



Circolino Pipistrello

Alice im Wunderland is Circolino Pipistrello’s travelling show for 2012, with stops in more than 20 locations. Tickets cost CHF 20 for adults and CHF 10 for children (over 5). You don’t need to pre-book: Doors open half an hour before showtime but you may need to arrive earlier to get a seat.


A journalist who blogs about her semi-feral children, barely-tamed animals, and mostly-domesticated husband. Serial-expat and reluctant linguist who finds Switzerland weird and stimulating enough to stay put.

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