Caltech Presents
The Passing Zone
Review by Ross Anthony

John and Owen juggle pins, rings, chainsaws and ultimately people (well sort of). But it's their banter juggling that really makes the show. It's the comedy, the humor, the friendly ribbing, fun-poking and tease that makes their presentation warm.

A short production, perhaps 1 hour, 10 minutes in total. (They started late and ran long on intermission.) The first half is rich with a joking dialogue that never stops even when the juggling does. Their verbal verve and jest is the glue that keeps the pace spinning. Their scripting feels boiled to concentrate from many many years of unscripted wit while practicing. The thick result is fruitful in a strongly bonded friendship ripe with flair and fun.

That said, their juggling also impresses. Seven pin passing, then nine -- very nice. And they end the half -- one on top the other on top a plank on top a ball, each juggling three flaming torches. A powerful climax that will leave the audience wondering how they intend to top.

And unfortunately, they never really do top the pace, maturity, and splendor of the their first half. That said, the second half is no flop. Though feeling much more contrived and "staged" into three acts, the second half still amuses. The feats appear less intricate, and more "circusy." Juggling six rings is very very difficult and takes a great deal more practice than swinging 3 tethered people around in a weave pattern. Still, the latter fills the stage with a spectacle. This is their show-ending bit.

Though chainsaws are mentioned on the bill, they aren't really "juggled" (as in one person juggling three saws). They are rather, impressively tossed around with operatic flair. And at the end of that bit, the two men do juggle three saws between them. It is definitely amusing.

The highlight of the second half finds an "involuntary volunteer" standing between juggling sickles. There's more to it than that, and I'd bet my doughnuts the "volunteer" is a plant -- but it is nonetheless a whole lot of fun -- and makes a great spectacle (better than the people juggling).

Surprisingly, there is no stage bow, not even a big thank you. Instead the two jugglers dart off stage so that they can sign and sell their videotape (instruction & show) at the entrance/exit. I respect their entrepreneurial zest -- but it is a bit odd to the crowd seated inside.

Overall, a very pleasant evening. A charming way to keep a smile on your face for more than an hour.

  • The Passing Zone. Copyright © 2004.
  • Starring Jon Wee & Owen Morse.
  • Review based on Friday October 29, 2004 performance at Beckman Auditorium, Caltech, Pasadena CA. (c) 2004.
Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:00:22 PDT