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Review in pictures: Cirque Eloize iD

ID Cirque Eloize
Photo: Patrick Lazic

The award-winning circus performance, Cirque Eloize (pronounced serk eh-loo-ahs, in case you were wondering), arrives in Singapore for the first time with a big reputation and a lot of hype to live up to. It incorporates hip hop, urban dance and ten different circus disciplines, making you sit up and gasp in mild horror at some of the dangerous stunts that the performers pull. Tying it all together is a loose storyline that charts the courting of lovers, two rival gangs, a showdown and some kind of reconciliation involving a ‘trampowall’ (more on that later).

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Patrick Lazic

The plot unfurls against an urban landscape, and makes clever use of sound and video projection to build up the energy throughout the opening act. We are then introduced to the two lovers whose meeting is short-lived as they are promptly separated by their respective – and rivalling – gangs. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet anyone?

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Valerie Remise

Sh*t goes down. The gangs battle each other in a series of dance-offs, including an intense Chinese pole performance. Oliver Poitras climbs and swings with ease, and incites a gasp from the audience as he plummets down to the floor, stopping just before his face smashes into it. That triumphant display of strength is enough to bring the enemy squad to their knees. In B-boy style, of course. 

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Ramiro Coloma

Cirque Eloize iD is a spectacle that just keeps on moving, and a lot of the dance routines happen in the backdrop of a larger feat, meaning there's something to watch wherever you are seated. The protagonists of the show are gradually revealed as they emerge from the breakdancing troupe to perform their solo tricks. 

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Valerie Remise

One such main character is played by juggler Jean-Philippe Deltell who oozes so much charisma that you can't help but find him lovable even when he (literally) drops the balls. 

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Valerie Remise

The gangs clash yet another time but this conflict is a little less intense, because they’ve decided to settle it with jumping ropes. That said, the standard hopping is clearly too kindergarten-level for this lot, who prefer back flips and acrobatics. A cyclist also ends up getting involved in the action, and executes some pretty great wheel hops over the rope.

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Valerie Remise

If the performers’ ripped physiques didn’t already betray their strength, strongman Angel Sanchez’s here to set the record straight. He balances his body weight on wobbly objects like awkwardly placed chairs. And for his death-defying act, he does a single-handed handstand atop a tower of stacked chairs. 

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Valerie Remise

Another noteworthy circus act: a performer holds on to the Cyr wheel as she spins upside-down around the stage. The music and video both slow down and become more hypnotic, which leaves us wondering how on earth she pulls this off without getting dizzy.

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Patrick Lazic

Remember Deltell, the charming juggler from before? He returns to look for a volunteer from the crowd for his biker friend to churn out some wheelies over. The chosen audience member is then taken onto stage, stretched out like a frog about to be dissected and subjected to Cirque Eloize's version of a five finger fillet – with a bicycle replacing the knife. We’re happy to say that no one was harmed in this performance.

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Patrick Lazic

One of the most breath-taking routines is headed by Nicole Winter, a contortionist and aerial dancer. An earlier performance shows her as a flirtatious girl with a knack for teasing her slow, yet endearing love interest. She escapes him by climbing up stair-like blocks using her face. You heard us right – by using her chin to support herself while bringing her legs over her head, she essentially turns into a human slinky. Her next appearance sees her suspended from cascading silk ribbons, drawing cheers from the audience as she and her partner lock their hands around each other's heads and twirl into the air together. 

Cirque Eloize iD

Photo: Patrick Lazic

The last antic that these crazy kids get up to involves the trampoline wall. Deltell announces himself on the mock roof of the industrial facade, and then causes a wave of shock by falling backwards off the ledge. We only breathed again when we realise that he landed on a well-hidden trampoline, which he bounces off horizontally looking like he’s ‘walking’ up the building.

The show wraps up on a high note, and there's good spirit all around, especially now as we can assume that the two squads have patched things up over a round of trampolining. And what is to be of the love stories that we got a glimpse of? That's to be continued (we hope). Andrea Cheong

Cirque Eloize iD is at Marina Bay Sands Mastercard Theatre from now until Mar 6.

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