Beverly FriendTheatre Reviews

Bright Spirit Cirque Shanghai

Directed by Dwight Jordanbright spirit cirque shangi

Presented in partnership with International Special Attractions via its offices in Shanghai and the United States.

Hot performance warms audience on chilly night

While it may have been unseasonably cool for June, on opening night, the skill of the Cirque Shanghai performers warmed the hearts of the audience. What an amazing display of talent, color, and energy this year’s show presents in their dazzling 2009 World Premiere, all new production. . The sets are stunning – star filled skies, massive stone backgrounds, dragon-embroidered draperies. Each provides just the right mood and tone for the cast, flashing by in gleaming, highly decorative costumes – often resembling flickering flames.
The descriptive titles of the acts live up to their promise:
Dance of the Drums
Rolling Candles
Ballet Adagio
Hoop Diving
Russian Barre
Tower of Chairs
Spanish Web
Tyre Fun

Bright Spirits
Bright Spirits

When the audience isn’t cheering the endeavors, it’s holding its breath: what lithe performers, what contortionists. Everything that seems impossible suddenly is made to look impossibly easy.

The cast balances on stacked chairs, bicycles, teeterboards, and each other, never flagging, always entertaining. The timing is superb, and Director Dwight Jordan and Choreographer Brenda Didier – both Chicago-area natives — deserve high praise for their work.

Tyre Fun is especially striking as the acrobats roll and spin, riding both astride and inside, inventing new ways to spiral in tires that bear a striking resemblance to large springy donuts.

Several times, the performers involved members of the audience. One brave soul was encouraged to lie on the floor, waiting to be jumped by an acrobat bouncing in a tire. Another man was enticed into joining a madcap crew rhythmically juggling three hats between their hands and heads.

This is the third summer that Cirque Shanghai has performed at Navy Pier, and once again, the show is beautifully choreographed a special and original musical score created especially for them. If you’ve seen this troupe before, you will want to repeat the experience. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?


Reviewed by Beverly Friend

Pepsi Skyline Stage on Navy Pier, Ticketmaster 800-745-3000 or for discounted tickets for groups or 10 or more, Group Tix at 877-447-7849, Tickets are $14.95 to $19.95 for adults and $12.50 to $14.50 for children ages 3 to 12. Gold Circle seating is $29.50 for children and adults. Children 2 and under are welcome and free. A fun package of $35 offers a 20% discount at the Riva Restaurant as well as other discounts for Navy Pier attractions. Performances are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2, 6 and 8 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 2 and 8 p .m. and Sundays at 2 and 4 pm. The Wednesday and Saturday 8 p.m. shows are immediately followed by a Navy Pier fireworks display.

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