Friday, May 30, 2008

Review: Cirque Balagan in KL

The experience of watching Cirque Du Soleil is to have watery eyes (you dare not blink), shortness of breath (you hold your breath because the stunts just go on and on and on and on) and prickly skin (the music and performance engulf all your senses).

Today's show was nothing like that, sadly, although the clown did quite well, getting some laughs out of us and being very likeable, staying in character all the while. Another character who stayed true to himself was the 'ringmaster', in this case some funny bird-faced guy carrying a dusty book and huge feather quill around the stage.

However, the rest of the cast just didn't live up to expectations. Most of the acrobats were just not world-class performers, being not very fluid, and not having proper training in performing to an audience. Cirque Du Soleil cast members have the benefit of an amazing artistic director who directs them in every tiny detail, from whether their hands should be open to the audience, to what degree their arms should be stretched out from their body. Acrobats are not natural performers and have to be trained, after all.

I was expecting a better show today. On the other hand, I thought that maybe I'd been spoilt, having already watched two shows from the best circus in the world - so after the show today I asked Mumsy Bumsy what she thought, and she gave the same response as above.

The choreography was well below the standard it should be when they charge people over RM300 for one show. The acrobats naturally are not Olympic standard (as those have already been grabbed by Cirque Du Soleil). Although some of them weren't bad, like the contortionist and the Oriental group of ring jumpers (whatever they're called) - they could be much more enjoyable with better choreography and training.

If you haven't seen this kind of cirque performance before, go and check it out anyway just to find out what it's like. Just buy the cheapest tickets and opt for the matinee show because the hall won't be full and they'll ask you to move to the front anyway. They're on for another 2 days.

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