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I don’t know what it’s like to have a bad LSD trip, but after seeing “Cirque Dreams” on Monday I have a pretty clear idea. The agile and athletic performers could not make up enough stunts to compensate for the lack of coherence on stage.
Unlike those of similar theater/acrobat touring companies such as Cirque du Soleil, this group’s performance did not have a unifying theme or a plot line. Throughout the show I kept asking myself, “What is going on and how many times are these gymnasts going to jump between each other’s legs?”
The characters bumbled about, unmotivated in their use of gesture and movement. The dance numbers were simply a choppy sequence of yoga, lyrical ballet and acrobatics, and at times I wondered if I was watching a high school dance team. The audience was forced to endure an insufferable series of laughable songs by a character who appeared to emulate the Chiquita banana lady.
The most disappointing aspect of “Cirque Dreams” was its effort to break down the barrier between the performer and spectator. Cirque du Soleil knows how to do this and make it funny for all; not “Cirque Dreams,” however. A few victims were chosen to engage in activity that reduced them to mere fools. The audience was compelled to laugh at fellow ticket-holders shaking their asses and ringing bells. At one point a jester/alien-type character conducted several audience members in ringing bells as background music slowly swelled. Was this to evoke some sort of impulse to shout for joy and forget about a corrupt government, disease and hunger because we are triumphant human beings who can ring bells at once? The act exceeded the worst form of escapist art.
Shame on you, Celebrity Attractions, for numbing the minds of Arkansans with this weak production.