Cirque's not so dreamy Illuminations | On the Boards | Indy Week
Pin It

Cirque's not so dreamy Illuminations 

click to enlarge cirque-web.jpg

Cirque Dreams Illuminations

Durham Performing Arts Center
Through Sept. 20

I'd been looking forward to transporting circus acts, but on Tuesday, Sept. 15, when Cirque Productions of Pompano Beach, Fla., premiered its new show, Cirque Dreams Illuminations, as the season-opener in the 2009-2010 SunTrust Broadway Series at the Durham Performing Arts Center, I was not carried away by delight.

This amalgam of songs, dance numbers and traditional circus feats of skill and strength ostensibly follows a storyline concerning transformation in a stylized urban setting (train platform, steel bridge supports, graffiti), but plot is hardly the point of this entertainment.

Cirque Productions and its Cirque Dreams "brands" have no relationship to the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, and it is important to understand that in order to avoid disappointment, as this Cirque Dreams production lacks the consummate dramatic, visual and physical artistry associated with Cirque du Soleil.

Part of the appeal of circus, whether of the "cirque" variety or the Barnum and Bailey variety, is that difficult and dangerous physical feats are carried beyond what seems possible—they take their performers beyond the realm of normality and show them to us as super-human as they create their death-defying beauty. Although many of the performers seem quite skilled, super-humanity appears only occasionally in Illuminations; more frequently the feats seem merely competent, workmanlike.

A notable exception to this show's lack of distinction was the performance of two "foot manipulators," one of whom provides a platform with his feet, from and to which the other springs in an incredible series of circular flips through the air.

The other beautiful and fascinating act involves trapezes converted from single bars into cubes, with several lithe aerialists arching in and out of them. This was impressive, but like all the acts, difficult to appreciate because several pointless, unrelated things were happening on stage at the same time.

Never did we see the marvel and majesty of the circus players without our view being interrupted by such things as dancing trash cans parading across upstage. And the gritty urban trash motif was taken much too far when three "vaudevillians" pulled toilet seats out of a bin and wore them around their necks.

The frenetic activity, without rhythm or resolution, is driven by assault-level sound of the type you might hear in a roller rink, or around the rides at the State Fair. Although absent of any mystery or suspense, the show is dangerous—to your hearing. Earplugs recommended for your safety and comfort.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in On the Boards

  • American Dance Festival's 2010 lineup

    They're back to a full schedule of 13 presentations. Once again, the season tilts heavily in favor of companies and artists seen before.
    • Mar 31, 2010
  • Choreo Collective's Current Collection

    The limited and decidedly legato movement dynamics we saw too frequently in most of the seven works suggested deflated kinespheres whose slow leaks, over time, remain in need of repair.
    • Mar 31, 2010
  • <i>Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders</i>

    Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders

    Local playwright Howard L. Craft's new work explores the lives of U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany with realism and humor.
    • Nov 4, 2009
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

This is very embarrassing situation for those two women who accidentally wears similar dress.
www.karinherzog.com …

by carissachurchill on Five Women Wearing the Same Dress; Urinetown: The Musical (On the Boards)

Excuse me but, if the company created a performance of Skriker which was oblique and the audience left feeling confused …

by Edwin Davies on The Skriker; more (On the Boards)

I was wrong about the HAIR cast/age issue. The play's creators were in their thirties when they played the leads, …

by Cherryholmes on Burning Coal Theatre's Hair (On the Boards)

I had a mixed response to Burning Coal's HAIR. Overall I loved it, much because it brought back an exciting …

by robertsegal on Burning Coal Theatre's Hair (On the Boards)

I saw "Hair" during its opening week and was very disappointed in this production. It appeared to be underrehearsed, which …

by Cherryholmes on Burning Coal Theatre's Hair (On the Boards)

Comments

This is very embarrassing situation for those two women who accidentally wears similar dress.
www.karinherzog.com …

by carissachurchill on Five Women Wearing the Same Dress; Urinetown: The Musical (On the Boards)

Excuse me but, if the company created a performance of Skriker which was oblique and the audience left feeling confused …

by Edwin Davies on The Skriker; more (On the Boards)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation