CIRCUS REVIEW: Le Grand Cirque

It's standing room only for this astonishing performance by Le Grand Cirque, returning after a sellout season last year with a production entitled 'Aerial Dreams'.
CIRCUS REVIEW: Le Grand Cirque
It's standing room only for this astonishing performance by Le Grand Cirque, returning after a sellout season last year with a production entitled 'Aerial Dreams '. The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall has been converted into a fantasyland where the seemingly impossible is achieved nightly. Prepare to be seriously amazed! It is slick, bold and spectacular, combining high-tech wizardry (the special lighting rig is huge and there are some marvelous special effects) and absolutely jaw-dropping feats of team work, balance and skill by top world class acts from around the globe. Children will love the music, the bright bold colours and be fascinated by the lighting. They will also enjoy, for example, the kites that float like jellyfish in act two. Adults will appreciate the balanced mix of strength, grace and beauty in the breath-taking acts. In some ways similar to Canada's Cirque du Soleil, Le Grand Cirque originally premiered in America in 2004. In 'Aerial Dreams' there is no real theme or narrative story as such, rather a combination of various dazzling acts of aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, jugglers etc. Costume designs are inspired by the natural elements and the four seasons. Some costumes, depending on the act, are based on Greek mythology or traditional Chinese stories. In Act 1, for example, there is a quicksilver team of tumblers jumping through hoops. There is also a high aerial balancing act to Ravel's Bolero, an amazing balancing act up a ladder and male duo equilibrium act. As well there is a golden-suited contortionist who is like a liquid candelabra, balancing lights on her hands and feet.. There is audience participation and interaction as well - great timing by the clowns that combines risk taking with laughter. Act two sees how many red elves carrying fans can balance on a bicycle (count them!)" a mesmerizing balancing on a high stack of chairs act (gulp); a spectacular, sculptural aerial 'Russian strap' act where Igor flies over the audience; a contortionist/balancing act (en pointe) to the music of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' and the heart-stopping grand finale of the amazing two silver-suited men in the 'Wheel of Death' that has to be seen to be believed! Lots of ooohs and aaahs from the audience and incredible skill, lighting and texture combine for perfect January fare. Le Grand Cirque - Aerial Dreams Presented By: Sydney Opera House Venue: Concert Hall Dates: 05 January - 18 January http://www.legrandcirque.com.au/ NEWCASTLE: January 20 - 21 ADELAIDE: January 24 - 25

Lynne Lancaster

Thursday 8 January, 2009

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.