Friday, June 27, 2008
CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY
It does not seem humanly possible what these people do in scene after scene. If my grandfather had been in the audience he would have said: “No rheumatism there.” These performers not only don’t have rheumatism, they can’t have bones either -- they must have limbs and spines made of rubber. The woman next to me kept clasping her hands to her face in awe. It’s definitely an amazing show, but amazing can be involving for only so long. With no plot to speak of or character development, and missing the animals of a regular circus, I began to feel I was watching a competition, but without the excitement of the outcome, such as a gold medal.
Cirques productions rely on acrobatic and other feats of the human body rather than animal acts. Created and directed by Neil Goldberg, CIRQUE DREAMS JUNGLE FANTASY features an international cast of 25 soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians, plus a wonderfully colorful fantastical jungle set, props and more than 150 costumes.
The show has toured the country extensively and now for some reason landed on Broadway. The performers come from Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia and Bulgaria, as well as the United States and Canada. They are the best in the world, chosen from more than 100 audition videos screened each month.
I enjoyed the show -- it’s definitely spectacular and visually stimulating -- but I think it would be more appropriate for Madison Square Garden than the Broadway Theatre, home until recently to The Color Purple. It’s a show to be appreciated by the eyes, but the heart is left empty.
Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy is scheduled for a 10-week run, with a planned closing date of Aug. 24. For more information, visit www.cirguedreamsbroadway.com.