Monday, November 17, 2008
I had a really good time at Wintuk, Cirque du Soleil’s latest production, now at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. It manages to be both spectacular and down-to-earth at the same time, making for a delightful evening of entertainment.
The “story’ is about Jamie, a little boy who longs for snow to come to his city; Wintuk is the name of the imaginary place in the north where he must journey to bring it back. I put the word story in quotes because Wintuk isn’t really about Jamie, even as appealingly portrayed as he is by Darrin Good. Under the direction of Fernand Rainvillet, it’s about presenting one marvel after another, from acrobats, jugglers, trapeze artistes and more. Choreographer Catherine Archambault has one happening flow easily into the next, so much so that the nearly two-hour show flies by.
I enjoyed every bit of it, but I was especially delighted with the disco dogs -- Terrance Harrison, Cindy Whiteman, Alexandre Tessier, Rémy Bakkar, and Lurian Duarte Avelino in costumes designed by François Barbeau. They start out just being fun to look at but then really dazzled when the trampoline comes out and they get to whirl and twirl with the best of them. I also loved the roller skaters who swoop up and down the hills of Patricial Ruel’s sets.
This was my first experience with the show. Press notes indicate it has undergone significant changes, including a trampoline act called “Power Track” and brand new puppet designs by Tony and Emmy Award-winner Michael Curry. I loved his giant cranes -- two performers in costume on stilts.
The entertainment is topped off by the best fake snowfall I’ve ever encountered. A multitude of giant white and light blue tissue paper snowflakes, shaped like fat daisies, are released from overhead and continued to fall for several minutes. It’s glorious.
Wintuk is the first Cirque du Soleil show created specifically for families, although the audience the night I was there seemed to be made up mostly of adults without children. It marks the 21st Cirque du Soleil production and joins the 15 others currently performing throughout the world.
Tickets for Wintuk, which plays through Jan. 4, range from $40 to $220 and can be purchased at www.cirquedusoleil.com, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-1000.