Tag Archives: circus

Visiting Cirque Du Soleil for “Alegria”

It’s a long weekend here in BC, and Mrs Dim had booked tickets for the pair of us to go see Cirque Du Soleil’s new show “Alegria”. Every time Cirque come to Vancouver, they pitch a huge big top on False Creek, just by the Rogers Arena, across from Science World. Even amongst the interesting architecture of Downtown, the tent stands out.

I hadn’t seen a live Cirque performance since I went to see “Quidam” in London with Paul, one of my juggling partners, but our eldest had been to this show last week and said it was awesome.

It was definitely weird, being in such a busy space – our largest gathering of other people since local restrictions were lifted, but staff were masked and so were quite a few visitors. We had opted not get VIP seating, or upgrade when offered the chance on arrival, but our seats looked pretty good. We weren’t right at the edge of the performing area, and there weren’t any support structures in our way. We were pretty close to our neighbours, but this is BC, so we said Hi and chatted with them. They were, of course, nice people.

The performing area was bare, except for a bent stick with a crystal in the end, slowly rotating on the spot.

If we craned our necks and looked to the right, we could see the entrance, guarded by an ornate throne.

Like most Cirque shows, there was a kind of story, and sometimes that story seemed to be part of the circus performance, and sometimes it didn’t figure at all. The characters spoke in a kind of semi-intelligible fashion, like Minions, so you didn’t have to speak English to “understand” them.

What were the acts? Well, I didn’t take any photos of them. Photography is not forbidden, just no flashes and no video, so it’s safer not to try. The first act was acrobatics using poles, supported on shoulders to propel the acrobats into the air. It was big and showy and really, really impressive. Then there was a more traditional trapeze act, a pair doing release and catch moves right up at the peak of the tent,

In between acts, either the “main” story of the jester who wanted to be king (or whatever) or the more minor but more fun story of the two clowns would continue. The latter produced the most unexpected moment of the whole show, when there was an actual blizzard – paper snow, blasted from the area of the throne, all the way across the stage, and right into the faces of the people who HAD bought the VIP seats.

There was an amazing fire twirling act, whatever you call a trapeze act that doesn’t use a trapeze but just has a wrist through a rope loop, a hula hoop flow artist, an awesome trampoline team act, and a pair of captivating acro-balancers. Did I miss anyone? I can’t remember, but it was a great show. Oh yeah, the guy Mrs Dim really liked who did the act with the big steel wheel he rocked around the stage.

Thank you, Cirque du Soleil, for a great evening out!

Book review: The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern

Back in the summer, on holiday in the US, I nearly bought this book. I nearly did so for three reasons:

1.            It says “Circus” in the title. As a juggler, I’m a sucker for all things circus. Except clowns, obviously.

2.            It has a brilliant cover. Yes, I judged the book by its cover. Cliches exist for a reason.

3.            It’s written by Erin Morgenstern. I thought the name sounded familiar, and then realised it’s the name of the person who sort of wrote “The Princess Bride” If you want me to explain that reference, then I’m sorry, I’m not going to. Watch the film, and thank me afterwards.

For various reasons, I didn’t buy the book back then. Lucky for my family, since I enjoyed it so much when I did get my hands on a copy, that I wouldn’t have seen them for the entire length of our camping trip (3 days – which is exactly how long it took me to finish reading it)

I loved the book, which makes it hard to do a serious review. My impression was that Erin Morgenstern had perhaps written several descriptive passages, maybe working out what the Night Circus would be like. These then got incorporated into the more traditional narrative as the writings of one of the characters in the story. From the blurb on the back, you might expect a love story combined with elements of “The Prestige”, where two rival illusionists strive to best one another in a magical tourney, but it isn’t like that. The story ranges a little in time, is magical in almost all senses of the term and, for once, did not disappoint with the ending. That’s no mean feat.

I’d recommend this book to anyone with a love of magic, or circus, or love stories. There’s no vampires or werewolves, which, frankly, is a relief.

Buy the book HERE