Cirque du Soleil


July 27, 2011

The show started right out with the greatest juggler in the world.  That’s not their hype, it’s me talking.  I haven’t seen every last juggler in the world.  Maybe there’s an octopus in the Indian ocean who can do fancier tricks.  I am nothing if not open-minded.  The trapeze artists and wire walkers were professional as were all the other acts.  Some were just pretty, like the kite throwers and the sand sculptress.  I didn’t love the clowns, but hey:  their job is to distract during setups between acts.  The Radio City Music Hall infrastructure is topnotch.  The ease with which they set up elaborate sets – from high wires to wheel walking apparatus – and the fine lighting.  This may just be the best sound system I have ever heard in such a large theatre.  The sound was just loud enough;  it was uniform in every corner I visited and clear with no hint of static.  World class all around.  Maybe not the clowns, but hey.  That’s just personal. 

Now for the downside.  Cirque du Soleil is a great show in a great venue.  Unfortunately they are not a great match.  Circus is best seen in the round, as Cirque’s Kooza was two years ago at Randall’s Island.  In Radio City Music Hall the stage quickly gets too far away.  If you want to see this wonderful show, get seats in the first dozen, maybe twenty rows and that’s pushing it.  The Ringling Brothers knew this as they produced their shows at Madison Square Garden, an arena firmly in the round. 

It is a plus that Cirque uses no animal acts;  not a single dog jumping-through-a-flaming-hoop.  It is about amazing acrobatics, and if you like those, then come to Cirque.  First dozen rows.  And bring your own cotton candy.