- The Stage - https://www.thestage.co.uk -

Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna review at Royal Albert Hall, London – ‘intermittent thrills’

Like Prospero’s isle, the Royal Albert Hall is full of strange noises. Many of them emanate from the all-female rock band crashing out power chords like a soundtrack to Armageddon. Loosely riffing around the theme of Shakespeare’s swansong, The Tempest, the latest Cirque du Soleil show delivers thrills, spills and spectacle in intermittent bursts.

A man with a large lizard tail who appears to be a cross between Caliban and Ariel wriggles around the stage showing off his magnificent appendage. The action is initiated by the female magician Prospera who subsequently fades into the background. It is just one of the anomalies of this well presented but half baked show. For the rest, it is business as usual with one act following another punctuated by dance routines and some unspeakably awful clowning.

The costumes are works of art in themselves, even if some of them are blatantly provocative. For a show that defines itself as a feminist call to arms it is sexist beyond belief. The giant water bowl seems to exist purely for ‘Miranda’ in a white bikini to immerse herself and then perform a balancing act in material that clings to every contour. And I lost count how many times the female aerialists performed the splits high above our heads.

 

The second half redresses the balance a little with the teeterboard boys stripped to the waist like high-flying Chippendales. The real showstopper is, ironically, the quietest. Accompanied only by the sound of amplified breathing the Balance Goddess creates an enormous structure of long sticks. It is like watching someone construct a house of cards horizontally. For all the sturm und drang of the rest of the evening, it is this moment that lingers long afterwards.

Verdict
Cirque du Soleil’s version of The Tempest is strong on spectacle and individual acts but ultimately underwhelming

Production Information

Production
Amaluna
Venue
Royal Albert Hall
City
London
Starts
January 16, 2016
Ends
March 6, 2016
Press night
January 19, 2016
Director
Diane Paulus
Choreographer
Karole Armitage
Set
Scott Pask
Lighting
Matthieu Larivee
Sound
Jacques Boucher
Costume
Meredith Caron
Technical
Fernand Rainville (director of creation), Rob Bollinger (acrobatic performance designer), Fred Gerard (acrobatic equipment & rigging designer), Patricia Ruel (props), Eleni Uranis (make-up)
Production manager
Gabriel Pinkstone
Cast includes
Gabriella Argento, Jenifer Aubry, Lindsy Bruck Ayotte, Virginie Canovas, Lara Jacobs Rigolo, Aaron Charbonneau, Amara DeFilippo, Janine De Lorenzo, Edouard Doye, Viktor Kee, Rose Ana Laguana, Pavel Mikhaylov, Amanda Zidow, Rachel Wood, Iulia Mykhailova
Producer
Cirque du Soleil
Running time
2 hrs 30mins