Story: Program notes describe Tir na n’Og as “a place beyond the edges of the map, located on island far to the west of Ireland. It can only be reached by either an arduous voyage or an invitation from one of its fairy residents.” On the island, love is the constant theme, specifically romantic love, with eternal youth and beauty in abundance and sickness and death restricted to places offshore. Visitors to the enchanted isle witness a number of meetings, trysts, dalliances and commitments amidst magic and dazzling adventures.

Highlights: Circus Flora first performed its mix of acrobatics, athleticism and amusements at Faust Park some 26 years ago. To initiate its entrance into dinner theater, the troupe returned to its roots and performed October 18 through 21 in a blue and gold big top located at the northwest corner of Chesterfield Mall. A number of artists performed in the cabaret-style setting of the circus, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Circus Flora’s most recent community outreach program, Clowns on Call, which brings circus magic to Mercy Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

Other Info: A tasty dinner prepared by Michele Coen-Racanelli and Vito Racanelli of Michele C. Catering & Events was served to audience members along with their choice of beverages prior to the performance. As guests finished off their meals, Cecil MacKinnon, aka Yo-Yo the Narrator, introduced the audience to a variety of performers who essayed roles on the mysterious island.

Contributing their considerable skills to the proceedings were Adam Kuchler, a clown new to Circus Flora who combines juggling and magic in an act rich with comedy, thanks to his extensive array of expressions and stage presence. Aerialists Alexandre Sacha Pavlata and Melinda Heywood Pavlata performed in tandem above stage, while Shayna Swanson specialized in her “aerial chain” act.

Youthful Kellin Quinn, who performs regularly at City Museum, juggled a variety of culinary items, while Claire Wedemeyer entertained in her clown’s attire with an assortment of pratfalls and humorous asides. The Valla-Bertini Family, featuring Vlastek Bertini, his wife Kim Sue, 10-year son Vincent and 2-year-old daughter Violet, proved that the family that balances together stays together on top of some perilously tall unicycles that they weaved dexterously between obstacles.

Circus Flora’s 2012 season concludes in December with A Child’s Christmas in Wales, its second co-production with the Saint Louis Symphony. For more information about that presentation or its 2013 season, call 289-4040 or visit

Circus: A Celtic Night Circus (Tir na n’Og)

Group: Circus Flora

Venue: Big Top Tent on the northwest grounds of Chesterfield Mall

Dates: Run concluded

Photos courtesy of Steve Truesdell