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THE "MARVELLOUS CRAGGS."

The human body is "fearfully and wonderfully made." It is at once so strong and yet so delicate that people have in all ages taken the keenest pleasure in witnessing what could be accomplished by it. It is this, consciously or unconsciously, that has caused the vivid personal interest taken in the performances of acrobats, equilibrists, aud gymnasts of every kind. The name and fame of the Cragg family of acrobats are in the mouths of everybody, for they are conceded to be, not only the greatest of English acrobats, but to stand absolutely nnapproached in their own special line by any other performers in the world. The Craggs are genuine artists, and exhibit a refinement, variety, facility, celerity, and grace in their "movements which are a joy to the eyes of all, tvbile the pleasure is greatly enhanced by the unexpected turns, the quick surprises, with ■which they at once bewilder and delight the spectator. The Cragg family at the present time consists! of eight performers. The eldest •{Mr J. W. Cragg, the "father and founder" of the combination) is an intelligent man, and is on the commitf"o of ail the theatrical benefit societies of Englsnd. Considered as an ucrobat, he is still in his prime. The se^ord niemb?r of the grouD is his eldest son. Mr Krlwartl CrssE : the other six member 8 are his daughter Victoria, and five sons, the youngest of whom. affectionately known as the "Baby," is aged 38. The Craggs have theii own gymnasium at

Kennington road, London, next door to where they live, so that all their tricks are originated and perfected without the chance ol the ideas being stolen by unprincipled performers. Mr Cragg began life as a boy working in the machinery department of a printing office in Manchester. In company with a chum he had seen several gymnastic performances, which stirred him up to attempt to emulate the acts he had witnessed. He started practising in a garret in which a trapeze was fixed to the beams. The garret was entered by a trap door in the floor, and he used to practise with the trap-door open, so as to give himself nerve. After months of practice he appeared one Saturday night at a benefit at the Casino in Manchester. That was the beginning of "The Marvellous Craggs," and the date was 1862. It was in 1871 that the "Cragg Family" first went to the Continent, and from that date they have held the proud position of the leading acrobats of the world. The Craggs' performances have always had the merit of being strictly original. They have never consciously copied any other man's doings, though their acts have been stolen by hundreds; but whenever "The Craggs" have found any special trick of theirs being done by other acrobats, they have immediately withdrawn it from their act. The Craggs were the first acrobats to introduce the use of the dress suit in acrobatic performances instead of tights and spangles. It is impossible to describe in detail any given act of the "Marvellous Craggs." They are the originals of nearly every trick in modern acrobatism. They have played in every city in the world, toured America five times, the Continent eight times, three times to Australia, and for over 12 years they have never worked for less than £100 per week. They arrive in Dunedin by the s.s. Westralia, and will be seen for the first time in New Zealand at the Princess Theatre on Thursday night. Their stay here is limited to eight sights. As the brightest gem needs a good setting, Mr Dix has congregated a number ot artistj to support the Craggs that are worthy of any music hall in the world.

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THE "MARVELLOUS CRAGGS." Otago Witness, Issue 2499, 5 February 1902

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