You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cirque du Soleil: Dralion

"Dralion" is among the more robust of Cirque du Soleil's programs, and among the funniest -- Guto Vasconcelos, Phillipe Aymard, Colin Gee and Gonzalo Munoz are the clowns who parody some of the acts in addition to inflicting mayhem on each other. Some of it is spectacular, especially in the double trapeze act.

“Dralion” is among the more robust of Cirque du Soleil’s programs, and among the funniest — Guto Vasconcelos, Phillipe Aymard, Colin Gee and Gonzalo Munoz are the clowns who parody some of the acts in addition to inflicting mayhem on each other. Some of it is spectacular, especially in the double trapeze act of Han Yan, Zhu Sha, Zhou Chunmei, Wang Dongguo, Zhang Hongwei and Hao Desheng, whose moves appear designed not just around athletic prowess but mathematical possibilities. And some of it is plain beautiful, as when pas de deux aerialists Igor Arefiev and Colette Morrow rise and descend and swoop gracefully around the ring in one of ballet’s most poignant joys — freedom from Earth’s gravity.

“Dralion” is no different than when it made a 1999 tour stop in Santa Monica. Yet there’s still a lot to appreciate in how far the music and design team of Cirque du Soleil, not to mention the more than 55 performers, has blended a succession of acrobatic novelty acts into an art form that expands the possibilities of dance, theater and the circus.

One of the most consistent pleasures here is not just the unfolding sight of the human body in graceful fusion of strength and physical perfection, but the body set to music. As impressive as any of the sounds and spectacular light designs, it’s the human form and its amazing power of expression that gives “Dralion” and the Cirque du Soleil’s other programs their primary appeal.

Many of the acrobats’ acts are so old that Marco Polo’s Silk Road must have been littered with the broken bones of teeter-board aerialists who missed, or aging hoop divers who had fallen and couldn’t get up. The format isn’t exactly fresh, either. As described in the promo kit, the theme of “Harmony Among the Elements,” consisting of Air (Colette Morrow), Earth (Henriette Gbou) Water (Amrapali Ambegaokar) and Fire (Benjamin Pring) suggests the kind of vaporous uplift that makes you want to stay after school to petition for world peace.

Music and costumes evoke Third World cultures; harem pants, the American Indian Trickster dance, those hoopsters done up in Australian aboriginal body paint, Japanese drums and modern funkadelic supply diversity without bombast.

Cirque du Soleil is so unlike any other circus group that its only competition has been with itself. Much of “Dralion” has been seen elsewhere, tricked up in different ambient settings. You have to wonder what it would be like if this brilliant creative team set its mind to a phantasmal narrative classic, like Dante’s “Inferno,” Homer’s “The Odyssey” or “Orpheus and Eurydice.” The Cirque du Soleil revolutionized the circus. If the members put their minds to it, they could probably revolutionize theater, too.

Cirque du Soleil: Dralion

Long Beach, next to the Queen Mary; 2,549 seats; $65 top

Production: A Cirque du Soleil presentation of a performance in two acts. Directed by Guy Caron.

Creative: Choreography by Julie Lachance. Sets, Stephane Roy; costumes, Francois Barbeau; light design, Luc Lafortune; sound design, Guy Desrochers; music, Violaine Corradi. Director of the Xinan Troupe and acrobatic act designer, Li Xi Ning. Opened March 6, 2002; reviewed March 8. Running time: 2 HOURS, 10 MIN.

More Legit

  • Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary,

    Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary, 'Hugo Cabret' Musical

    Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have unveiled Ley Line Entertainment with a Brian Wilson documentary and a “Hugo Cabret” musical in the works. Ley Line said it’s a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music. Headington financed and produced “The Young Victoria,” “Argo,” “Hugo,” and “World [...]

  • Daniel Radcliffe

    Listen: How Broadway Made Daniel Radcliffe a Better Actor

    Acting onstage has been a regular part of Daniel Radcliffe’s career for more than a decade — and the “Harry Potter” star says there’s a good reason for that: It’s made him better. “It gives me a lot of confidence as an actor, which is not always something that I’ve felt,” Radcliffe said on the [...]

  • The Jungle review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Jungle'

    With the rumbling of semis careening by and the sound of Middle Eastern music in the distance, “The Jungle” aims to vividly immerse audiences into the world of the real-life migrant and refugee camp of the same name. By telling the story of the Jungle’s creation in Calais, France, in 2015, and its eventual destruction [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • 'Network' Review: Bryan Cranston Stars on

    Broadway Review: 'Network' With Bryan Cranston

    The 1976 film “Network” won four Academy Awards, including best original screenplay for writer Paddy Chayefsky, for its blistering portrayal of an American society fueled by greed and bloated on corruption. A haggard Peter Finch took the best actor trophy for his harrowing performance as Howard Beale, a TV newsman who is so disgusted by [...]

  • Faye DunawayVanity Fair Oscar Party, Arrivals,

    Faye Dunaway to Play Katharine Hepburn on Broadway

    Faye Dunaway will return to Broadway to play another acting diva. The Oscar-winner is set to portray Katharine Hepburn in “Tea at Five,” a one-woman play that charts the movie legend’s career over the course of a winding monologue. Dunaway last appeared on Broadway in 1982’s “The Curse of the Aching Heart.” In the 1990s, [...]

  • Philip Bosco'The Savages' film after party,

    Tony Award Winner Philip Bosco Dies at 88

    Veteran character actor Philip Bosco, who won a Tony Award in 1989 for “Lend Me a Tenor” as an opera impresario and was nominated five other times, died Monday, according to his grandson, Luke Bosco. He was 88. Bosco received his first Tony nomination for “Rape of the Belt” in 1960. His other nominations were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content