On Sunday, The GF and I headed down to Tacoma to catch the latest Cirque du Soleil show to reach the Seattle area. Alegria, the long running travelling show, took up about a third of the Tacoma Dome. We had a great time at the show.
We had excellent seats in the third row on the floor and only had to deal with mild clown harrassment. They weren't nearly as obnoxious at "interacting" with the audience as they are at many other shows.
It seemed like a decent crowd, but it certainly wasn't sold out.
Here's what the show is about, according the their website:
Alegría is a mood, a state of mind. The themes of the show, whose name means "jubilation" in Spanish, are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth—it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives. Kings' fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats and children make up its universe, along with the clowns, who alone are able to resist the passing of time and the social transformations that accompany it.
I don't know what that means, either, and I've seen the show.
In that respect, it's much like most Cirque shows. Alegria is an older show that first started touring in 1994 so it doesn't try as hard with the story. Since there's not as much plot in this show, I didn't burn up as many brain cells as I often do at a Cirque show in a futile attempt to figure out what the heck is going on.
I had a great time at the show, but it did have a few flaws. I always feel conflicted in commenting about what I see at these shows because there it no way I could do any of that. The feats these athletes perform are just amazing.
The White Singer, dressed in poofy hoop skirt, put on a nice performance. In most shows, the singer is in the background, and really just functions as another instrument. In Alegria , "The White Singer" is, according to the website:
The White Singer is the storyteller who echoes in song everything she sees around her. She sings of melancholy and despair, of joy and happiness. Her luminous white gown is exquisite – underneath a bodice and skirt-frame adorned with jewels and pearls, is miles of flowing crinoline. In her dress and long white gloves, she moves like a delicate porcelain doll in a jewelry box.She conveys a surreal and, for lack of a better term, adorable innocence.
There were some great acts. The fire dancers were amazing. I knew we were in for something special when they had a couple of guys strategically placed on the audience floor with extra safety equipment.
The dual trapeze act was great with the added risk of them tumbling into the audience. It's not like baseball, though. If you catch a wayward performer you don't get to keep them.
Many of the clown interludes started off entertaining, but seemed to go on a bit too long. And the one right before intermission, which had the richest story, didn't seem to resolve itself.
The contortionists were mind blowing. The two woman twisted and bended and became pointy in all the wrong ways. We were close enough to see the expressions on their faces, as they calmly rested their cheeks upside down on their feet. They were so calm and relaxed it was amazing. They could bend backwards so far, it seemed they could lean the back of their heads on their own bellies. The skill and talent they displayed defied reality.
The biggest problem with the show was the pacing. They front loaded the most compelling acts in the beginning of the show. Much of the second act was anticlimactic.
That was especially the case with the last act. They took extra time to set up an impressive net for the performers. There was a swing high in the air and several horizontal bars. The performers twirled and spun around them, jumped to the swing, hung upside down, and caught one another. At the end of the bit, they did some impressive gymnastic dismounts, flew through the air and slammed loudly into the net. And that was pretty cool. The problem is that the rest of the act just didn't live up to the other acts earlier in the show. The big finale was just not on the same level as the other performances. If it appeared earlier in the show, it would have been much more impressive.
If you're a first time Cirque visitor, prepare to be amazed. If you've seen a lot of Cirque shows, this is familiar territory. It's still worth seeing; it's just not the same transformative experience you may be looking for.
One more note -- the snow blowing was fantastic.
You can see my thoughts on other Cirque shows in these posts: