I, for one, am not a big fan of circuses. The very word "circus" conjures up images of a flying trapeze, a tightrope, bears, ponies, an obnoxious ringmaster and a bunch of failed Russian gymnasts, the whole thing topped off by a crowd dominated by old folks and little kids, their eyes filled with gullible wonder at the immensely corny acts being performed for them.
When my mother told me she had bought us tickets to see "Cirque du
Soleil", at £40 a piece, you can probably imagine why I wasn't thrilled
with the idea. But, one had heard rumours that this thing was OK.
The Cirque was performing at the Royal Albert Hall. After we sat down
and waited for the show to start, we saw a peculiarly maquillaged
figure walk around the stage, inspecting the various objects already
present there. He was dressed as a grotesque hunchback with a pot
belly. Hardly befitting a ringmaster, I thought to myself. That is
exactly what Cirque du Soleil Is about. Nothing remotely resembles
a traditional circus, except maybe the clowns.
Every prejudice you may have concerning such entertainment is blown away by the originality of the show. The performance never really "starts", since the circus sucks you in gradually, by having clowns, the ringmaster and band members mix with the audience. The circus does not use any animals, but does use gymnasts, dancers, acrobats, contortionists, clowns, and a strongman. Furthermore, all of the above acts are accompanied by an excellent band (amazingly dressed) and a singer, whose voice is unfortunately digitally enhanced by the microphone. At the end, you are left with a sense of awe at the precision and beauty of the performance. It is definitely the best show I have ever seen. Unfortunately for you Londoners, the Cirque has left town. But, if my review has really impressed you, you can hitch a ride to Spain, where the Cirque is currently performing.