Cirque du Soleil finally shows its human side in the innovative, sexy “Amaluna,” now on at Marymoor Park, Redmond
Cirque du Soleil represents the pinnacle of stunning circus spectacle – anyone who’s seen a show or a video can tell you that. What it doesn’t often represent, though, is ordinary humanity – fun, unpredictability, joy. Which is why its newest show “Amaluna,” just opened at Redmond’s Marymoor Park, is such a treat. Not only is this Shakespeare-inspired production the most cohesive, narrative and plot-driven Cirque show for a while, it’s one of the most innovative, with new apparatus and theatrical elements that allow both phenomenal physical skills and some simple human joys we can all relate to.
That’s not to say everything’s perfect in the “Amaluna” world. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” “Amaluna” gives the original a feminist spin (thanks to guest director Diane Paulus), which definitely honors female acrobats but gets a little tiresome in characterization. The sorcerer Prospero becomes Prospera (lead singer Julie McInnes), who makes grand gestures but has a one-dimensional mystique and rather grating alto (though she does have a fantastic electric blue cello). Surrounding her and protecting her daughter Miranda is every female mythical character known to mankind: goddesses, spirits, Amazons, Valkyries, pre-Raphaelite heroines, even a gal bespelled as a peacock. Heading up the shipwrecked sailors and bent on winning Miranda’s love is – wait for it – Romeo (Shakespeare fans, feel free to gag here.) In the middle of all this estrogenetic tumult are two clowns who, like all Cirque du Soleil clowns, achieve complete unfunniness in an irritating, repetitive way while severely embarrassing the audience.
But these are minor quibbles. Despite the plethora of myths “Amaluna” actually holds together both plot and theme, unlike many Cirque shows, and that’s thanks to Paulus, who’s not afraid to insert purely theatrical elements into the circus splendor. Read more »