Friday, April 03, 2009

A Night at the Circus

I just came back from seeing Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco performance over in Mobile, AL.

If you've never seen a Cirque show, I highly recommend them. Great music, wonderful performers, and truly incredible feats of physical skill. It's definitely filed under "something different." I understand that they're not everyone's cup of tea. Some people prefer the traditional three ring circus - with elephants and lions and all that - and that's fine. Different strokes for different folks.

This was my fifth time seeing a Cirque show. My wife and I started with La Nouba, the resident show at Downtown Disney in Orlando, FL, and then we saw three shows in Miami: Dralion, Quidam, and Alegria. The latter were "tent" shows, where they actually set up an enormous circus tent in a park for the show.

All of them were excellent, but my two favorites were La Nouba and Dralion. It's hard to compete with the amazing theatre custom-built for La Nouba, which allows some really complex set pieces. On the other hand, I think Dralion's soundtrack is the best of them all. It's both powerful and beautiful.

La Nouba's "Power Track" sequence:

The intro to Dralion:

was different. Firstly, opening in 1992, it's Cirque's oldest running show. Secondly, it was recently redesigned to be shown in standard arenas, as opposed to the tents. Our performance was in the University of Southern Alabama's sports arena. Because of both the age and the venue (a basketball arena? for Cirque?), I originally my doubts.

I'm happy to report that my expectations were very much exceeded. The show turned out to be very, very good. The clown/mime was hilarious with his heavy use of audience participation. The Russian swing was freakin' trippy. My favorite, though, was the boleadoras - essentially percussionists that use a mix of drumming, boleadoras, and flamenco dancing. Poly-rhythm heaven. And the music had taiko drums involved. Hell yeah.

Our next project is to get over to Las Vegas at some point to see:
  • "O" (pronounced "oh", as in "eau", the French word for water) - a Cirque show designed around water.
  • Zumanity: Leave the kids at home. Cirque for the adults.
  • Blue Man Group: I'm a huge fan of percussion, and these guys are awesome.


Spinning Hat said...

Don't forget Mystere at TI! Excellent show, well worth the money.

Wicked Penguin said...

Oh yeah, for sure. I have the soundtrack for it. I definitely want to see the taiko drumming part.

Anonymous said...

Haven't had a chance to see any Cirque de Soleil shows but I did recently see Le Reve at the Wynn in Las Vegas and I cannot recommend it enough.

Absolutely amazing.