The mystery, the music, and those gravity-defying circus performers – welcome to the magical world of Cirque du Soleil which has returned for 2024 with ALEGRÍA: In A New Light.
Back for its annual residency at the majestic Royal Albert Hall, like most Cirque shows, the story remains an enigma unless you delve into the programme. 30 years after its first appearance, a reimagined Alegria returns, and we can expect a timely tale of hope and resilience courtesy of bumbling court jester Mr Fleur (Bohdan Zavalishyn) who has ambitions to be king.
It’s a big, bold opening from Acro Poles as performers balance and bounce on bamboo-like poles held horizontally, while flyers beautifully execute aerial ballet. The
The clowns, duo Pablo Bermejo and Pablo Gomis Lopez, are amusing at first, but the gibberish chatter may wear thin for some – so thank heavens for their blizzard scene, a visual spectacle that turns the iconic concert hall into a giant snow globe.
Standout moments from the wonderfully diverse performers include the spellbinding Somoan Falaniko Solomona Penesa, dancing with flaming knives and Chinese Yan “Joann” Zhuang, whose elevated hula hoop skills transform her briefly into a neon-lit slinky. Daria Kalinina and Halina Starevich, from Russia and Belarus, also deserve a mention as it’s magical to watch their hand-to-hand performance as they weave in and out of different shapes in perfect synchronisation.
Naturally, the best is saved for last, a jaw-dropping climax that sees the brilliant Flying Trapeze perform gravity-defying stunts, somersaults, and incredible leaps to reach for the arms of catchers suspended by their knees. The audible gasps from the audience and standing ovation speaks volumes for the precision timing, flawless coordination, and unwavering trust between the exceptional, super-fit performers. It’s breathtaking and Cirque at its best, especially as the act culminates with magnificent jumps into a giant net suspended 10m above the stage.
“World-class circus skills and plenty of wow moments”
Directed by Jean-Guy Legault with surreal costumes designed by Dominique Lemieux, it’s the music that stays with you long after the show. René Dupéré’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack filled with powerhouse ballads perfectly delivered by two soloists, including Brazilian Cassia Raquel, whose sultry vocals effortlessly fill the venue.
It’s back, it’s bigger, and while the jury’s still out on whether Alegria’s better than before, one thing’s for sure, it delivers world-class circus skills and plenty of wow moments – but you’ll have to put up with the miming clowns!