The Royal Albert Hall
Review by Daen Palma Huse
Illustration by Emily Vanns
The show directed by David Shiner is by no means just an ordinary circus show. The Québécois group “Cirque du Soleil” has a long-standing reputation for putting on the most entertaining and beautifully choreographed performances. With the recent “Kooza” at the Royal Albert Hall, the viewer is invited to dive into a world of wonder and excitement; a surreal dream world filled with acrobatic and theatrical mastery and talent. The stage design reflects this with flowing fabric that allows for imagination - one could see wings or an abstract landscape that magically opens to reveal a pavilion with musicians, out of which the acts appear onto the round stage.
Two female singers Vedra Chandler and Marie-Pier Guilbault and the band provide the music throughout the show - incredibly beautiful and powerful voices that could fill the rows of the Royal Albert Hall, leaving the audience hungry for more.
While the narrative starts with a naive boy playing, the story quickly assumes a fast pace, evolving into a seemingly unstoppable whirlwind. After a musical number and some acrobatic warm-ups, three contortionists captured the audience with their spell. Pompous confetti gunfire into the audience marks a highlight within the first half of the show, while a jazzy tune and dancers with feather boas open the second half, reminiscent of belle-époque dancers and smoky nightclubs of the 1920s. Throughout the show many musical and visual elements came together and it is quite impossible to place what is seen culturally or stylistically, which is but part of the beauty of the evenings' grand performance. This certainly peaked with the skeleton costumes, possibly inspired by the artistic depictions of skeletons for the Mexican day of the dead.
The three fools - played by the trio of Gordon White, Colin Heath and Amo Gulinello - that appear between main acts are joined by a person in a dog costume that raises a leg and urinates across the front row at one point - much to the surprise of the audience. Almost like a Shakespearean stylistic device of metaphorically catapulting the spectator out of the story on stage by an unexpected comical interval (making the surprised theatre-goer ever so aware of the fact that what he or she is seeing is but a play) only drew in the audience more before the next act captured our attention.
Even the simpler appearing act of Yao Deng Bo balancing chairs on top of one another is impeccably well presented and provides an element of calm alongside fast-paced numbers, such as, the hell-wheel with two men running jumping and swinging in the over dimensional wheel. Another highlight of the show was the three wirewalkers that balanced at a great height and topped off the act by riding bicycles across the wire.
Impeccably well presented, Cirque Du Soleil shows artistic and athletic mastery at it's best. Every part of the show led over to the next and there is no room for boredom. The longing for plain, old-fashioned circus performances might linger, however, Cirque du Soleil combines traditional and contemporary elements extremely well and can be applauded for yet another stunning performance.