by Dan Gibson
If you read the press material or listen to the people in charge of "Alegria", which will be at the TCC Arena through Sunday the 28th, the show is about the conflict between generations or something like that. Why there has to be a plot at all is a little mystifying to me, since it was nearly impossible to follow a storyline running through the various vignettes, but Cirque du Soleil have a bunch of productions running around the world and the TCC was three-quarters full the night before Thanksgiving, so I guess they know better than I do.
While for my cynical, dark heart, the magic and whimsy of the Cirque du Soleil experience with clowns roaming the audience pre-show and a ringmaster of sorts wandering around yelling "Alegria!" are a little lost, if someone described the show as a collection of amazing acrobats and such from around the world, I'd probably be in.
When you get past the interstitial music (great if you wish Enya was a little edgier and French sometimes) and sort of humorous parts, the skill that goes into this show is impossible to not be impressed by. There's a guy from Hawaii who spins fire sticks around, gymnasts running on runways made of trampolines and flying all over the place, ridiculously flexible contortionists balancing in improbable ways, and an amazing high bar/trapeze finale. While there were moments that reminded me of the rhythmic gymnastics portions of the Olympics I rush to the remote to avoid, in person (and the way the arena is set up, it seems like all the seats offer a good view of the stage) the action is transfixing.
I don't know if I'm sold enough to pay over a hundred dollars to see a Cirque show in Vegas, but when the production is half the price, right down the street and featuring the same sort of absurdly talented cast, I'd consider putting up with the constructed childlike joy for the amazing acrobatic feats.