It was a good show – lots of fun and worth the ticket prices. I ordered ages ago, so I got the $50 tickets that were right next to the $200 ticket section. Very good seats and I didn’t have anyone tall in front of me, or anyone wide next to me.
Let’s see, what to say about the show... the clowns were very... French, and the humor was very... earthy. Nothing new there. I was just struck anew by the urge to say "but you can’t do/say that in public..." I was also struck anew by how effective distraction can be. They’ll be setting up assorted involved apparatus that has to be cabled down right in the middle of the stage, but there’s so much else to watch that suddenly you look up and say "where did that come from?" I was actually paying attention at one point, and realized that they’ve got the riggers in full costume. They march them out with the rest of the performers, and then they just blend in as they go about their business. For someone like me who is interested in the technical works of the show, there’s really too much to watch. There’s the show itself, the riggers, the way the set is configured, the way the set is used, etc. I can’t look in that many places at once. The set was fairly spectacular – all drapey fabric that moved with the action. Very nicely done.
The three girls doing the contortionist act were amazing – the costumes looked like full body tattoos, or the scales on some fantastic exotic creature. A few things ran through my mind: I bet they don’t have any trouble getting dates; where IS her liver right now; how do you breathe with your diaphragm compressed like that; I wish my chiropractor could see this; and my GOD they’re strong. It must take incredible strength to hold some of those poses, and yet if I had to describe the ladies in question, I’d call them "delicate."
The girl doing the swing act was good, but not noteworthy. The unicycle act was pretty impressive. It reminded me of Torville and Dean’s old ice dancing routines where he was swinging her all over – except this guy was on a unicycle, not ice skates. Pretty nifty. The high wire performance was entertaining, and caused me to reflect again on what people like. There is nothing that an audience loves quite as much as seeing a trick fail, and then to see the performer try again and nail it. They’re more touched by that than by unvarnished success. The crowd response is always bigger when someone nails a stunt on the second try, because now you’re really pulling for the guy. The other thing that was running through my mind when they did the routine with three guys, four poles, two bicycles, and a chair was what a disaster that would be if it all came tumbling down. Yes, there was a net strung, but I couldn’t help but think about the performers coming down on top of all of that equipment which would also be in the net. It’d be ugly.
The act that the paper referred to as the "hamster wheel of death" was spectacular. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve watched one of these things and actually been consciously concerned about what would happen if something were to go wrong. Scary stuff. Again, I was very impressed by the sheer strength that was required. The tumblers were all fun to watch, as always. A bunch of people have commented that the juggling went on too long, but I love juggling. Also, any guy who can keep a seven ball/club cascade going for multiple passes is worth watching in my book. Yes, I’ve preferred the jugglers that I’ve seen in previous shows to this guy, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Although the outfits were the HEIGHT of tacky. I say this having just gotten back from I-Con. Wow. The only act I wasn’t impressed with was the guy doing what I refer to as the chair-stacking thing – where they keep adding chairs to the pile and performing gymnastic strength moves as they go. Okay – yes, it’s impressive to keep your balance on that type of a pile. But all he was doing were handstands. Add a couple chairs, press into a handstand. Add a couple more, do a handstand. I’d have been more impressed by the last one where the last chair was wedged in at angle if I wasn’t able to clearly see the seating notches for it. Yes, the balance and upper body strength were impressive, but I’d rather watch a really good men’s gymnastics floor routine. He had nothin’ on Mitch Gaylord. It just wasn’t up to the standard of the rest of the show. This is not to say that I was at all disappointed – it was a great time.
Here’s the part that may wither someone’s soul. Andrea, you may want to look away now.
You’ve been warned.
We were hanging out in a corner of the gift shop while we were waiting for the doors to open. No, I wasn’t shopping – they funnel you through the gift shop to get into and out of the show. Very sound marketing strategy. As I was standing there, a display caught my eye, and I strolled over to look at it. This is what I saw:
I recognized it immediately as the mask that Merimask had designed for them a couple of years ago: http://merimask.livejournal.com/2006/12/14/
Who’dve thought that they could turn a lovely hand-crafted design into a piece of plastic kitsch?
But it was still a good evening.