Cirque Éloize: Cirkopolis. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (see Off Broadway). By Cirque Éloize. Directed by Jeannot Painchaud and Dave St-Pierre. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission.
Cirque Éloize: Cirkopolis—in brief
This contemporary-circus troupe from Montreal brings its latest show to NYC, performing classic acrobatics and tightly choreographed dance numbers against a backdrop of original video projections. Expect jugglers, contortionists and Cyr-wheel artists in pieces inspired by the struggle to escape a soul-crushing industrialized city. If that hits a little too close to home, rest assured: At least onstage, humanity wins in the end.
Cirque Éloize: Cirkopolis—theater review by Raven Snook
What’s in the water in Canada? Our neighbor to the north churns out a spectacular array of circus troupes that think well outside the ring. But the Montreal-based Cirque Éloize’s latest show, the poignant but still family-friendly Cirkopolis, is a particularly stunning amalgam of theater, modern dance, original music, evocative projections (by Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence) and top-notch circus skills.
Although the black-and-white aesthetic and soul-sucking factory setting are clearly inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the theme is Terry Gilliam’s Brazil all the way. A lonely pencil pusher (Ashley Carr, charming) in a dreary office rages against the machine with help from his ab-tastic cohorts. The story is loose but its individual-versus-the-homogenized-masses meaning is blunt, but nuance isn’t the point. Bursts of eye-popping color and jaw-dropping feats explode his humdrum world like Dorothy stepping into Oz.
There are many highlights: the mesmerizing Angelica Bongiovonni twirling provocatively on the Cyr wheel, a host of hunks tossing the seductive Dominique Bouchard through the air and Carr’s bewitching pas de deux with a dress hanging from a coatrack. But Cirkopolis is, above all, a collaborative piece. Many acts employ the entire ensemble of 12, all of whom are multitalented. Nowhere is this more apparent than the amazing juggling routine, in which every performer helps throw pins around as they seamlessly execute Dave St-Pierre’s meticulous choreography, often atop moving office furniture. Your jaw may drop, but none of the pins do.—Theater review by Raven Snook
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