Part of the annual Finnish performing arts showcase From Start to Finnish 2023, Chevalier – Hobbyhorse Circus, Race Horse Company‘s charming, family-friendly homage to the circus horse and silent movie era, will be presented at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe from 3 to 27 August at Studio One in Assembly George Square Studios.
“Ridiculously funny…. recklessly inventive”–★★★★ Fest (on Super Sunday)
The acclaimed Race Horse Company and Kalle Lehto, creators of Total Theatre Award-nominated Super Sunday, present a comedic contemporary circus for children, drawing from the history and essence of circus culture. Ringmaster Kalle Lehto performs acrobatics, juggling, and balancing, recreating the majesty of the traditional circus horses with a cast of children’s hobby horses. As the horses take centre stage on the small manege, the ringmaster’s story is played out in short silent movies. With Kalle’s playful style, natural comedic sense, and the fluid movement of a Finnish break-dancing champion, completed by Sami Tammela’s adroit music and soundscapes with electronic elements, Chevalier – Hobbyhorse Circus brings the magic of traditional circus alive once more.
Chevalier – Hobbyhorse Circus showcases traditional works which originated in 16th-century England as skilled riding shows in which horses would gallop in circles around the manege from where the circus acquired its name. It is the third part of Kalle Lehto’s trilogy of circus shows for children, which have toured Finland and won the Finnish Children’s and Youth’s Theatre Award.
Kalle Lehto said, “I love the honesty of children as an audience. You can see and hear already during the performance what works or not. I feel that in order to expand the audience base of contemporary circus we need to create and support quality performances that the whole family can enjoy.”
Race Horse Company was founded in 2008 out of the need to create uncompromising and unique contemporary circus with no holds barred. The company’s Super Sunday with Kalle Lehto at Lafayette Underbelly was a Total Theatre Award nominee at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the founding members were awarded the State’s Circus Award in 2016 for their risk-taking and uncompromising work. In their 15 years of breaking boundaries, they have produced several shows of unparalleled attitude for all audiences and from street festivals to the biggest stages in Europe. Race Horse Company’s previous shows include O’DD (2020 Assembly online).
Artist and director Kalle Lehto is a multi-talented artist, virtuoso acrobat, juggler, and break-dancing champion and one of the founding members of Race Horse Company. Never afraid of new challenges, Kalle has set his own path in circus, created several unique shows, and stepped into the world of theatre as well with blazing reviews. Chevalier is a product of one of his greatest passions, creating outstanding circus for children. The first children’s circus show by Race Horse Company was Kalle Lehto’s solo Circles – kommellusten kabaree, which premiered in 2012 at the Helsinki Festival, where Lehto was chosen as the ‘Year’s debutant’ of the festival. In the sequel Around – Ympäri ämpäri, he was joined by a cast of two musicians and a second circus artist. The show premiered in 2016 and toured Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. In March 2020, Kalle Lehto was awarded the Circus Enchantment Award by Circus Info Finland in recognition of work done for the benefit of Finnish circus art and later won the Finnish Children’s and Youth’s Theatre Award in 2021.
From Start to Finnish is an annual showcase presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that represents the best in Finnish performing arts. Returning to Edinburgh for its eleventh year, From Start to Finnish 2023 features four shows: A Couple of Humans (Summerhall), Chevalier – Hobbyhorse Circus (Assembly), Insomniac’s Fable (Summerhall), and THEM (Pleasance). In previous years, the showcase has included the award-winning Cock, Cock… Who’s There? and The Desk, the Fringe First-winning physical theatre piece.
Chevalier – Hobbyhorse Circus
Written and Directed by
Video design by
Christoffer Collina & Kalle Lehto
Sound design by
Suitable for ages +4
Relaxed performances available
Assembly George Square Studios- Studio One,
3-27 August, 2023 (not 9, 14, 21)
Previews 3 Aug: £7.50
4-8, 11-13, 18-20, 25-27 Aug: £14.00, concessions £13.00
10, 15-17, 22-24 Aug:£12.00, concessions £11.00
Relaxed performances 15th and 22nd August
Supported by Cirko – Center for New Circus
Source: Mobius Industries press release via Maryann Wright. All images used in body of this article courtesy of Annabelle Mastin-Lee, credited to photographer Antti Suniala. Main image: Chevalier show (image rights to Hannu Huhtamo).
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