While my health is still deteriorating at pace, at least I can tick off one more of those "must do before getting too sick" things. On Saturday I finally had a chance to see one of the Cirque du Soleil‘s shows first hand. Having bought the tickets 9 months ago, this was one of the rare occasions to see one of the performances in Germany, much less in a venue that’s actually halfway near me. As I wrote many times already, they are making their way to this part of the world far too rarely for my taste and then I always seem to miss out on the few ones for organizational or other reasons… So how was it?
I must say I loved every part of it! While Alegria may be one of their oldest shows, it still is also among their best ones. It still manages to convince with its artistic concept of a retro circus while at the same time being modern enough to be entertaining and accessible to people, which is not always the case as Corteo, another of the Cirque‘s shows, unfortunately proves. Or to put it simply: Corteo with its over the top Italian theme is actually pretty annoying (at least judging from the DVD version, of course) while Alegria is highly enjoyable. It has this flow that keeps your attention and makes you want more and it does so even if it has naturally changed over the years. As a long time fan, of course I had known the DVD for a while, but the real experience is still different enough. Some of the acts had changed, had been substituted or modified and since this was run in an arena rather than the Grand Chapiteau, the whole feel and atmosphere was slightly different, also. Still, you’re entering a whole new world – a rather perfect one. Everything is aimed at getting you in the right mood with lighting, sound effects and all that. That is also true once the show starts which, as you may know from the DVD, is gradually and almost incidental.
Once it has started, you’re quite in for a ride. Again, the show manages to keep a perfect balance between lots of activity on stage while not being too hectic and not distracting from the main performances. We were sitting in the 4th row, so I had a good view on most things, though for some acts this turned out to be a bit disadvantageous, also. In particular the clown stuff on the other side of the stage was at times a bit hard to see and the power track performers doing their somersaults directly head on (we had seats in line with one of the diagonal tracks) occasionally makes you miss some jumps. On the other hand sitting so close has the advantage of seeing the faces of the performers and it also gets you involved with some other acts. The stage, by the way, looks smaller than it does on the DVD, even though of course it is still considerable in size. I couldn’t sneak around as much as I would have liked due to security everywhere, but it sure would have been interesting to have some deeper look here and there.
All in all I am very happy having seen this and would do it again in a heartbeat. I’m always hoping that I might yet get to see a (few) different show(s), but if 5 years down the road they are still touring Alegria in Europe, I’ll probably be there just the same. Meeting that young, extremely good looking, wealthy gay Russian oligarch living in London would still be nice, though. Somehow this weekend has only increased my appetite to see Totem ;-) …