The description of Bello Nock, “half daredevil, half clown and all hair,” perfectly sums up the IncrediBello! show at the Historic Asolo Theater. The performance is a mixture of comedy, daredevil stunts with Nock, PD Weisman, and Annaliese Nock, and, of course, hair, as Nock’s foot-high hair is an unmistakable and unmoving icon throughout the show.
The show begins with Nock as a classic clown, eliciting laughs from the audience for his silly behavior and illusions. Host David Shipman, a former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ringmaster, and Nock lightheartedly jab at each other during a magic trick, warming up the audience to their slapstick humor that continues during the show.
PD Weisman moves the dynamic of the show toward more serious stunts, with his performances on the German Wheel and high wire. Nock’s daughter, Annaliese, deftly demonstrates the high wire skills she inherited from her father and many generations before that.
The performance is interactive at times, with playing cards showering the front row seats after a failed magic trick, for example, or when children in the audience yell directions to try to help Nock out onstage.
Although Nock is accompanied by Weisman, his daughter, and the host, the performance is mainly a one-man show, with Nock in the middle of it all. He hardly speaks during the entire show, but he doesn't need to. He never fails to keep his audience laughing, even while performing dangerous stunts on the high wire, stacking chairs high into the air, or flailing around a swaying lamppost that almost as tall as the theater’s ceiling.
Nock sprinkles aspects of his family background in the circus throughout the show, emphasizing the deep roots his family has had in the circus world, and the impact they had on him in the show. He brings the audience back in time with photos of his grandparents on the high wire, photos of himself as a young boy and snapshots of his children learning the family skills with Nock alongside them.
There were four generations of people in the room and most of them were clearly amused, especially the young kids, who shriek with delight when Nock performs his goofy clown tricks and surprises everyone with his stunts.
IncrediBello! is a 60-minute show, and continues through July 29. For tickets, call (941) 358-3180, or go to ringling.org.