×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cirque Ingenieux

"Cirque Ingenieux" is the latest mutation of circus acrobatics mixed with sophisticated, high-tech stagecraft and very loud music. Of course, the show also blends amazing feats of physical dexterity with wildly overblown spectacle, once again proving that this new genre has a way to go before it catches up with the talent of its performers.

With:
Cast: Geoff Bach, Stacey Carlson, Ekaterina Fedosseeva, Nathalie Hebert, Jessica O'Neill Higgins, Jaroslaw Marciniak, Chiharu Matsuki, Jason McPherson, Colleen Ryan, Jochen Schell, Anna Shvetsova, Alexander Streltsove, Galina Strutinskaja, Veronique Thibeault, Dariusz Wronski.

“Cirque Ingenieux” is the latest mutation of circus acrobatics mixed with sophisticated, high-tech stagecraft and very loud music. Of course, the show also blends amazing feats of physical dexterity with wildly overblown spectacle, once again proving that this new genre has a way to go before it catches up with the talent of its performers.

Rather than simply roll its acts out one by one, “Cirque” ties them together with a thin, wordless and ineffectual story about a young girl who visits a circus and dreams of becoming one of the performers. As she is led through the galaxy by a benevolent angel prone to singing mournful arias, the girl encounters an elaborate cast of characters, all of whom take themselves far more seriously than anyone in a traditional circus ever could.

Not that the show’s various contortionists, jugglers, illusionists, strongmen and acrobats don’t deliver the goods, but the over-serious tone of the performances often gets in the way of joy. The principal acts (particularly the contortionists and the strongmen) are done in slow motion and set to the absurdly ponderous, synthesized musical swellings of composer Kitaro, all to a curiously numbing effect. Tedium sets in faster than one might expect, largely because the acts and the music that accompanies them are so repetitive.

While the show’s moroseness might be viewed by some as sophistication, the only real use of that word applies to the technical wizardry behind the stagecraft. The lighting, costumes and black-light stage effects are all first-rate, and the inventive use of screen projections creates some dazzling effects. Billowing silk and dry-ice clouds create suitably eerie backdrops for the performers to do their things.

Producer Neil Goldberg has assembled a world-class cast of gymnasts and acrobats, including former Olympic female athlete of the year Christine Rivera and a number of top athletes from Russia, Poland, and Canada. Released from the rigid confines of competition, the athletes have developed some ingenious (as the title declares) adaptations of traditional gymnastic skills. Perhaps the most remarkable feat of all, their artistry manages to squeeze through the show’s pretension.

Cirque Ingenieux

Ordway Music Theater, St. Paul; 1,800 seats; $35 top

Production: A Neil Goldberg presentation in association with Gentry & Associates of a performance in two acts, with music by Kitaro, libretto by Norman Allen. Directed by Joe Leonardo.

Creative: Sets and projection effects, Jerome Sirlin; costumes, Jonathan Bixby; lighting, Howell Binkley; sound, Jonathan Parke; choreography, Catherine Archambaoult, Eric Hoit; music direction/arrangements, Keith Heffner; music coordination, Stephen Gabriel; production manager, Darrell Smith. Opened Oct. 2, 1997. Reviewed Oct. 3. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast: Cast: Geoff Bach, Stacey Carlson, Ekaterina Fedosseeva, Nathalie Hebert, Jessica O'Neill Higgins, Jaroslaw Marciniak, Chiharu Matsuki, Jason McPherson, Colleen Ryan, Jochen Schell, Anna Shvetsova, Alexander Streltsove, Galina Strutinskaja, Veronique Thibeault, Dariusz Wronski.

More Legit

  • CAROL CHANNING HERSCHFELD. Actress Carol Channing

    Remembering Carol Channing: A Master of Channeling the Power of Personality

    There was only one Carol Channing, and her outsize personality was a source of delight to many fans — and imitators. Gerard Alessandrini’s stage spoof “Forbidden Broadway” had many incarnations over the years, including the 1994 edition when an audience member was selected every evening to come onstage and impersonate Carol Channing with the cast. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Celebrities Remembering Carol Channing

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters are among the slew of celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute to late singer, comedienne and actress Carol Channing. Known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” and “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the legend of the stage and screen died Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, [...]

  • What the Constitution Means to Me

    Listen: How Things Got Scary in 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    For a decade, writer-performer Heidi Schreck had wanted to write a play inspired by her experiences as a teen debater. But over the years the show started to develop into something both urgently political and deeply personal — and things got scary. In the Broadway-bound “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Schreck reimagines her speech-and-debate [...]

  • Carol Channing Dead

    Carol Channing, Star of Broadway's 'Hello, Dolly!' and 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Dies at 97

    Larger-than-life musical stage personality Carol Channing, who immortalized the characters of Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97. Channing died Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed the news. He wrote, “It is with [...]

  • 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    'What the Constitution Means to Me' Transfers to Broadway

    “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a buzzy Off-Broadway production that counts Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem among its fans, is making the move uptown. The play will come to Broadway this spring for a 12-week limited run at the Helen Hayes Theater. “What the Constitution Means to Me” is one part civics lesson, one [...]

  • Choir Boy review

    Broadway Review: 'Choir Boy'

    Honestly, I was afraid that “Choir Boy” — the sweetly exuberant account of a gifted prep school boy’s coming of age, written by “Moonlight” Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney — would be swallowed up in a Broadway house, after winning us over in an Off Broadway staging in 2013.  But aside from the odd set [...]

  • Jason Robert Brown

    Listen: How Ariana Grande Got Jason Robert Brown to Madison Square Garden

    Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown never expected to find himself performing onstage at Madison Square Garden. But he did — thanks to his pal Ariana Grande. Brown met Grande before she was a superstar, when she was in the 2008 Broadway cast of his teen musical “13.” The two have kept in touch ever since [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content