Poet e.e. cummings got it right when he said, ?Damn everything but the circus!? That was back in the 1930s, and circuses have changed a lot since then, with a certain French-Canadian troupe eliminating animals and adding sophistication to what?s become quite a grown-up theatrical experience. 

Still, we miss the all-ages, rip-roaring fun of our childhood circus visits, so we?re looking forward to a performance that promises excitement--as well as lots of world-class acrobatics, music and humor--when Circus Oz comes to UCLA for five performances beginning February 7. Based in Melbourne, Australia, this troupe started in 1978 (six years before Cirque du Soleil) as an experiment by progressive theater types seeking to engage all audiences. While Cirque du Soleil is spectacular, it?s kind of creepy, too, and sometimes traumatic for young children, while Oz is more wacky fun.

With only one set of 13 performers who juggle, fly, pratfall, tumble and more for the entire two-hour show, a chance to see Circus Oz is a rarity, and this is the group?s first return to L.A. since 1984. ?From the Ground Up? is based on girder-hanging steelworkers, and we?ve heard there will be everything from a flying piano to a clown getting a wedgie.  

We?re looking forward to a couple hours of being a kid again. 

Circus Oz, Royce Hall, 340 Royce Dr.; 310-825-2101 or circusoz.com

From Around The Web