Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Alegria

Posted By on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 10:34 AM

You can resort to all the usual terms to describe Cirque du Soleil's beloved Alegria: dazzling, spectacular, astonishing, gorgeous. You wouldn't be wrong; Alegria is all those things. But you'd be remiss by stopping there, because a Cirque show is more than that.

And for those who will see a Cirque show for the first time with the company's current stop in town, I'll tell you this, it feels like a dream more than anything. When the performers vault themselves into the air, either on the trapeze or with a bungee-like apparatus, you too, feel like you're flying. All those strange figures, with their peculiar postures and shimmering costumes, can't possibly be real. It's weird to see them walking around, as if they only belong in your deep, dark sleep.

This sense of another world is all the more palpable by way of the supporting performers who'd lounge around onstage while another performed in the spotlight. They'd play with their hats, roll around or jump with surprise at the feat we all just witnessed.

Thats entertaining: both the high bar team and my date, who grabbed his face in terror several times during the set.
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • That's entertaining: both the high bar team and my date, who grabbed his face in terror several times during the set.

The Old Birds, who were quite the acrobats themselves.
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • The "Old Birds," who were quite the acrobats themselves.

Suffice it to say, I loved it. I'll admit, the ending did seem to come a bit abruptly, and any evidence as to a narrative of some kind was lost on me. But who cares? Let me keep sitting and start the whole thing all over again.

As I was thinking about it later, I found that despite the staggering talent of the acrobats, gymnasts and contortionists, I was most taken with the clowns, most especially in a fabulous scene right before the intermission involving a blizzard and a train.

The clown in that scene is actually deaf, which you can't even begin to grasp when you see how on cue he is. Like everyone on stage, including the white singer and her band of musicians, their talent is only equaled by their sense of style and panache.

Speaking of which, Indy columnist Rich Tosches was chosen to participate in a sketch with the clowns, and played along perfectly, without a single Doug Bruce joke. I expect a 750-word report from him about that next week.

The trampoline team, a definite crowd favorite.

Another shout-out to the audience member who took photos during the climactic acrobatics set at the end of the show. Congratulations, you assclown, for representing Colorado Springs by doing the one thing they said not to do — because it endangers the performers — during the time when it was most pertinent not to. Enjoy the blurry photos.

In any case, I obviously recommend seeing the show, especially for all you Cirque virgins out there. It's not cheap, I understand, but if you can swing it, visit ticketswest.com.

And for a backstage look at the production, read Matthew Schniper's cover story from last week as well as his follow-up blogs.

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