Amaluna Shines Under the Big Top

For many years now Cirque du Soleil has presented a number of different shows that are nothing like your traditional circuses.  Individuality and creativity is how they gained their worldwide success.  They have done Montreal proud and been able to bring something new to each and every show they have done.

Amaluna is the latest Cirque du Soleil show and as it is coming up on the end of its run here I would recommend those who haven’t seen it to make the time to do so.  The show, directed by Diane Paulus, features a story that is strikingly like the Shakespearean tale The Tempest, meaning the action takes place on an island inhabited exclusively by women.

The women’s lives are turned upside down when a crew of male sailors land on the island.  Almost upon first sight the young and beautiful Miranda (Ikhertsetseg Bayarsaikhan) and the handsome and muscular Romeo (Edouard Doye) fall in love.  Like most Shakespearean based tales this romance is not without complications.  Miranda is the daughter of the Prospera (Julie McInnes), the ruler of Amaluna, and her pet lizard Cali (Victor Kee) is not exactly thrilled by the coupling of the young lovers.  Being together is not going to happen without a fight.

As you can gather this production is centered around women and feminine power.  It is the first Cirque du Soleil show to do so.  The show is not only about love, but how women can be strong.  That strength is shown through acts involving juggling, trapeze, tightrope, acrobatics, trampoline, uneven bars, and unicycle.  You must be saying to yourself that these are all typical circus acts, but the way that Cirque du Soleil presents them are completely unique.  One difference is that the show is more theatrical than previous ones.  It follows along a main theme and tells a story.  A story of love and bravery.  The theatricality is aided by the beautiful and colourful costumes designed by Mérédith Caron.  They add much to the characters like the dangerous and always in motion tale of the lizard Cali.

Like most Cirque du Soleil shows it started off slow though it did pick up towards the end of the first half.  The acts involved more and more skill, talent and fearlessness.  As the risk factor rose so did the audiences involvement in the story.  Mission accomplished.

Wisely the strength and risky acts are nicely broken up by either funny or beautiful ones.  As usual there are a couple of clowns who reappear every so often.  The female (Pepa Plana) and crashed ship’s captain (Nathalie Claude) also fall in love and even have children…or more exactly…a litter of football shaped things.  Another distraction, this time of the beautiful variety, is a ballet dancing peacock goddess dressed in all white.  My favourite of the distractions was a silent one.  It involved Lara Jacob Rigolo and her balancing act involving the balancing of large and old looking bones.  The crowd was completely under her spell.

Cirque du Soleil have been at this since 1984 and this is its 32nd show (time goes fast…), but they show no signs of running out of creative ideas or ways to present them within the “circus” (I use the term loosely) format.  Here’s to hoping that there is 30-odd years more of this type of cutting edge entertainment.

The show ends its run in Montreal on July 15 and then it moves on next to Quebec City then to Toronto.

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