'Theatrical spectacle at its best,' Michael Cox reviews the current tour of Cirque du Soleil.
Cirque du Soleil has been accused of selling out. What started as a bohemian answer to travelling circuses has become a corporate brand, not only touring internationally but having multiple shows based at Disney theme parks and permanent bases in such cities like Las Vegas. And let’s not overlook the prices for tickets, programmes and merchandising: figures that dwarf many of the biggest names currently on the world-touring circuit.
And yet, when one takes away the hype and the cynicism that commercial success usually brings, one is usually left with a child-like sense of awe at what unfolds during a Cirque performance.
And Alegria, one of the company’s most successful shows, is Cirque at its best. Full of well-executed performances, colourful costumes and a consistent joyful spirit, the production is an overpowering hypnotic theatrical tapestry. Each act doesn’t just impress but manages to emotionally pull you in. Everything about the production, from the large set pieces to the haunting score, envelops the senses and leaves the audience in a perpetual state of glee.
Unlike a lot of recent Cirque shows, Alegria doesn’t really have a dominating theme or storyline. Because of this, one might be hard-pressed to remember every aspect of the show. But echoes of the production will linger in the mind for quite some time. Perhaps a certain character, an impressive performance piece, some of the shenanigans from the clowns or even a simple musical refrain will leave a lasting impression.
Whatever the case, Alegria is theatrical spectacle at its best, a performance that is not only worth seeing but cherishing for some time.
Alegria is at the SECC until April 15.