Last night I attended the new (Cirque du Soleil) show, Corteo. As with every other Cirque show that I’ve seen, it was magical — a visual and aural phantasmagoria of acrobatics, comedic and dramatic acting, costumes and music. There’s a slight plot thread twisting through it, really more of a theme than a plot, but it’s the acrobatics that blew me away, as usual. There was a juggling set that defies explanation, and the finale, with several gymnasts on interlocking sets of parallel bars, was nothing short of amazing.
The original Cirque du Soleil troop, hailing from Montreal, visited Toronto for the first time more than 10 years ago, and I remember attending the show under the big blue-and-yellow circus tent and being completely entranced. Now, they’ve branched out to six troupes touring around the world, and five permanent shows (including O and Zumanity ) in Las Vegas and Orlando. Every two years or so, when they return to Toronto, I find myself drawn to the show like a moth to flame: Saltimbanco, Dralion, Varekai and other productions. Many years ago, I saw the original run of their show Alegria, which had the most hauntingly beautiful music to accompany the show, and last year they returned to Toronto with Alegria. I notice that it’s touring Japan right now, and will move on to London, Milan and Rome next year.
If you’ve never seen a Cirque du Soleil show, get yourself to a production or look for one of the TV specials or DVDs available, although there is really no replacement for seeing it live. You’ll never feel the same way about a circus again.