Cirque du Soleil is back in town with their peculiar circus act that pooh-poohs animals for a blend of world beat/hippie artistry and acrobatics that still have plenty of kick. SHOULD YOU GO? Hit the jump for my review of Cirque du Soleil: Dralion which is conveniently broken down into two subdivisions: 1) GO! if you've never seen them before, and 2) DON'T GO! if you've seen them before.
1) GO!! (If You Haven't Seen it Before.) Though the format has been copied elsewhere, Cirque du Soleil (translated Circus of the Sun) is still a pretty amazing feat of artistry. Crazy dreamlike costumes, crazy dreamlike music and crazy dreamlike acrobatics combine to create a completely new world unlike you've ever seen before. This of course, comes with it's downsides: The show is SO crazy and dreamlike, I occasionally drifted off to the land of "Meh" where I sort of forgot that these poetic, visually gorgeous stunts (seamlessly combining acrobatics with ballet) are also super dangerous. While I'm sure they strive for perfection, I was thankful for the tiny things that would sometimes go wrong—a prop falling over, an acrobat slipping and falling on his ass—just to remind myself that gravity truly is in force here, and the show is not just another Michael Bay-produced CG spectacle. Amusing clown work, death-defying acrobatics, and a truly amazing trampoline sequence are the highlights of a show that's a little heavy on the balletic interstitials, but still something to behold.
2) DON'T GO!! (If You've Seen it Before.) This particular incarnation (Dralion) is a remount that was originally produced and toured back in 1999, so since there's been roughly 19 Cirque shows since the troupe's inception, you can expect a LOT of the same stuff. Not that I remember all that well, but apparently I've seen Dralion before, since the clowning bits were exactly the same—though I don't recall the fantastic trampoline act, which is almost worth the price of admission. Plus (according to their Rose Garden press description), there's supposed to be a "story" here that involves "Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature" as well as evidence of how "cultures blend, Man and Nature are one, and balance is achieved." This is their artsy way of saying, "there's no story here." If you've been around this track before, you'll see how show holes are plugged with unimaginative, overly dramatic ballet sequences, set pieces moving for no particular reason, and a very annoying Enya-esque soundtrack running throughout. But still... HOLY SHIT! TRAMPOLINES!
Cirque du Soleil: Dralion, Rose Garden, 1 Winning Way, playing now through July 19, $40-$100, tickets and more info here.