Life, etc

Enchanting Cirque Éloize ID: Melding circus glamour with street grit

By Lesley Stones 22 August 2014

I’m going to jump right in and say it - I loved this show so much that I’d go back again this evening. And the next night too. Cirque Éloize ID is the most infectious fun-filled show you can imagine. No, you can’t even imagine it really, unless you’re a world-class theatrical producer yourself. Which you aren’t, so you really ought to book some tickets and if you have stroppy teenagers in the family, take them too. By LESLEY STONES.

Cirque Éloize ID is a gorgeous and exciting blend of Cirque du Soleil, Madame Zingara and West Side Story. It melds the glamour of the circus with the grit of the street, presenting a succession of acts that include juggling, skipping, breakdancing, extraordinary acrobatics and graceful touches of ballet. There’s a rather creepy contortionist act too, looking for all the world like a giant spider about to devour her lover.

The show opens with a kind of pas de deux as an insouciant street dancer throws his partner around with stunning, elegant ease. When she stands on his extended hands it somehow looks so natural that you wonder why we can’t all do that.

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Cirque Éloize ID was formed in Montreal in 1993 and its shows have understandably toured the world to huge acclaim. While there are numerous dance shows and circus-inspired derivatives competing for bums on seats, this one really is the current crème de la crème.

I had a silly grin on my face right from the start, my companion was whooping, and ‘wow’ was the most common exclamation of the evening.

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The stage setting is amazing, with video projections of graffiti blazed onto a backdrop of blocks to create a street scene. At the back, the stage grows up into a multi-level wall where the performers sometimes pop out of what looks like a solid tenement block.

I loved the soundtrack too, created by composers Jean-Phi Goncalves and Alex McMahon and including some Spanish rap to keep the fast pace pumping. The music is vibrant but never overpowering, and the lighting effects are superb.

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The eye-popping costumes deliver an eclectic mix of street hip-hop and glitzy showmanship, and the inventive choreography as well as the individual feats is absolutely delightful.

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It’s fast-paced but never frenzied, with a thread running through it of gang rivalry as the 14 artists try to outdo each other in dance and daring deeds. Their strength and agility is delightfully mindboggling. With touches of humour woven throughout the show as well, you just can’t fail to be utterly enchanted.

Cirque Éloize ID runs at Montecasino’s Teatro until September 14. DM

www.lesleystones.co.za

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