Sunday, October 12, 2008

Le (not so) Grande Cirque!

Quote of the Day: “There's a sucker born every minute!” ~PT Barnum

Song of the Day: Solisbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

State of mind: In denial. It's warm here.

Date: Oct. 12th, 2008

I don't want to say that Le Grande Cirque is a rip off of Cirque du Soleil since traveling shows with contortionists, jugglers, and daredevils balancing on a tower of chairs have been around since there were people, things to juggle, and chairs. But it was a rip off. (They even admit it on their website!)And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery than Cirque du Soleil is the only one that's getting a compliment today.

I recently went with co-workers to Le Grande Cirque at the Times Union Center, (which used to be the Pepsi Arena, which used to be the Knickerbocker Arena. People around here still call it The Knick.) We had what would usually be considered great seats except that the way the stage was set up we couldn't see a thing and had to ask to be relocated. Luckily for us, (and not so luckily for The Times Union Center or as they are trying to get everyone to call it, The Tuc (pronounced "tuck")), the place was less than half full and we were able to move to a section with a much better vantage... of a mediocre show.

Although the individual acts were impressive they seemed abbreviated and the overall show felt unpolished. It was as if I was watching the teaser version of the circus or a promotional video made by amatures and showing on You Tube. Where this event mirrored Cirque du Soleil was it's stage presentation- the use of etheral and overly dramatic music plus having extras as background noise while the primary act is being performed, only they did it with inferior cosutmes that were sewn from the cheapest made-to-look-fancy fabric, canned unoriginal music, and lack of any overall creativity. Plus, in between acts they filled the stage with dancers to distract and entertain while they changed the equipment but each time they were onstage I noticed how out of synch they were with each other and it was oddly reminiscent of a bad High School production.

However, one act stood out: an aerialist act on chiffon. He came on stage alone in tattered jeans looking like a homeless man with a Jesus complex (if Jesus was known for walking around bare chested) and for the only time during the entire show there was no one else on the stage. But they weren't needed. The music was more sublte and fit his act perfectly. His movements hit the dramatic moments of the score, his transistions flowed seemlessly and was so compelling to watch there was no need for filler as he performed. If the rest of the show had been as enchanting as his lone act, I would have gotten in line to see the entire show again the next night. Alas, it wasn't.

What the show was instead was almost two hours, but I think I only enjoyed about 45 minutes of it total. And in todays economy, if they expect a family to pay from 35 to 55 dollars per ticket on an evening out they better produce a show that is much more solid and pulled together. If they are coming to your town, I suggest you give it a miss and get Cirque du Soleil on DVD from Netflix instead.

Show quote of the day: "But I like my belongings. That's why they belong to me."


JennyLu said...

awww serinity. Did I ever mention to you that i watched the movie you gave me like five times when I was in the hospital having Lulu? Best gift you ever gave me (the movie)

LL said...

A knock off of Cirque du Soleil you say?

Out here deep in the spleen of bat country we're lucky to get knock offs of the knock offs. And I think Barnum and Baileys was the last circus I was at down in Salt Lake. That pretty well cured me on circus type things...

Oh... what's next at the TUC... the powderblue man group?

Beth said...

I've never been into acrobats or circuses or any such thing like that, but I am a Firefly fan. :)

fermicat said...

I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR as I was driving home from work today and they were interviewing Will Ferrell and others about the movie Step Brothers (I'm pretty sure it was a rerun from the summer). One of the things that was discussed was whether or not people really do get high on mushrooms and then go to see Cirque de Soleil. The consensus was that it wasn't just an idea they invented for the movie. The circus people didn't seem too surprised by this element of the script.

ctheokas said...

Whenever I go see cirque du soliel, I have to be high, so I gorge on mushrooms.

trinamick said...

The only circus that comes to Hickville is the Shrine Circus. Last time I went to it, I was 6 and it was lame. Why pay to see bearded ladies when you can just go meet one at the gas station?

NYPinTA said...

Jenn, glad you liked it. :D

LL, Barnum and Bailey is nothing like Cirque du Soleil. Not that you'll like it any better, but still. Different.

Beth, that's all that matters. ;)

Fermi, I've never gone to any circus high. But...

ctheokas, uh, is that how it's done?

trin, can't argue with that.