Blending themes of loneliness, isolation and self-discovery with the magnetic culture of street sports, Cirque du Soleil’s latest iteration, “Volta,” is an eye-popping and psychically soothing spiritual journey experienced through a prism of jaw-dropping acrobatics and aerodynamics that leave one gasping for breath.
The Montreal-based entertainment company has produced a steady string of awe-inspiring shows since its launch in 1984 in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, many of them an an ode to various earthly and ethereal and pop cultural elements, from “O” (a nod to water, “eau” in French) to “Zumanity” (incorporating burlesque and cabaret styles) to “The Beatles Love.”
With “Volta,” the performers—an international national cast of bungee jumpers, shape divers and various other thrill-seeking aerialists—digs deep into the emotional wiring of human beings to create a show that is both visually and emotionally stunning. There’s laughter, too.
What’s even better: “Volta,” which runs through March 8 at Dodger Stadium, is the sort of show that appeals to virtually anyone—young and old and every age in-between.
Mr. Wow, played by Russia native and professional clown Andrey Kislitsin, instantly kicks off “Volta” with light-hearted antics courtesy of Mr. Wow’s Talent Show, a skit that incorporates such skills as rope skipping. (Later in the show, his “la plage” skit will elicit belly-grabbing laughs, comic relief timed perfectly to punctuate the show’s various gravity-defying high-wire acts.) From there, the show advances to skits featuring roller skating; ballet; a trampowall; an acro lamp; BMX bikes; aerial straps; ladders; contemporary dance and a mesmerizing number in which Brazilian performer Vanessa Ferreira Calado swings across the big top suspended by a wire attached to her hair bun.
Characters throughout “Volta” include the Greys, city dwellers addicted to their cell phones, people whose singularity in the world has been lost in a marasse of buzzing and blinding technology ; the Freespirits, fanciful hippie-like bohemians who celebrate individuality and inclusivity, they love everyone regardless of culture, creed or ethnicity; and ELA, the consummate Freespirit who helps others as they embark on their journey of self-discovery.
It’s ELA who nudges Waz on his way. Waz (Joey Arrigo) is perhaps the most affecting and arresting protagonist in “Volta.” The blue-haired nymph-like figure is a sullen game show contestant who goes in search of his true self, tapping childhood nostalgia in the way of home movies—projected on screen—and other mementos, creating a world in which past and present meld together to create a world that’s fantastical and cinematic but also grounded in the collective universal experience of yearning for love and understanding and societal acceptance while at the same time celebrating our unique differences.
“Volta’s” finale is a mind-bending arrangement of BMX bikers performing a fast and furious pulse-racing series of bar turns and crankflips and various other tricks that speaks to the celebratory nature of a show that fetes unity, brotherhood and the incandescent power of humanity.
“Volta” next heads to Orange County, where it will be running at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa from March 18-April 19,
For tickets to Volta log onto cirquedusoleil.com/volta