BWW Reviews: Cirque's AMALUNA an Artistic Triumph

Cirque du Soleil's newest creation, "Amaluna," has a lyrical feel, like the grand dance of the peacocks it so beautifully uses in much of its imagery. Similar to other traveling Cirque shows, it has a grand beginning and finale where the ensemble gathers all at once on the stage for a dance of sorts. But the expressive choreography fits the feminine nature of "Amaluna," and so appears more often throughout as white and black peacocks gracefully flit across the stage.

More dancing means fewer acrobatic acts, and at least two of the production's original acts have already been retired with no replacements. Cirque's one fault is that audiences are never ready for it to end. But one thing for sure: "Amaluna" not only has a romantic story line, it also boasts some of the most alluring production elements of all the Cirque shows.

A rotating stage framed by giant peacock feather-inspired background pieces facilitates the dramatic acts for optimal visual pleasure. The score is every bit rock, every bit fantastical and every bit Cirque, yet uniquely its own and always serving the magic. The musicians integrate with the action as members of the female-dominated island. In a stunning moment, the mother of coming-of-age Miranda, Prospera, sings and plays a gorgeous blue cello while sitting on an aerial, moon-shaped piece. She later plays the saxophone, accompanied by others on electric guitars and percussion.

Matthieu Larivee's dramatic lighting and Meredith Caron's exquisite costumes constantly highlight the performers. Flowers (watermeteors), amazons (uneven bars), valkyries (aerial straps) and the balance goddess (manipulation) celebrate Miranda's womanhood. In a midair ballet, the god and goddess of the wind beckon a ship full of men to the island, one of whom immediately falls in love with Miranda. Romeo performs tricks to prove his love, flawlessly showing off his handsome torso as he moves up and down a pole. Miranda looks to the moon goddess for guidance in a beautiful aerial hoop and waterbowl routine. She distorts her body and twists about in the small bowl of water. With the moon goddess, she playfully flicks the water, creating an artistic picture with the swirling aqua. Meanwhile, her jealous best friend impresses with a juggling act and the shipwrecked men jump and flip on a teeter totter.

The clown act could use some work. Miranda's nanny falls in love with one of the men and they have little eggs together. Cute, but not hilarious. They entertain during scenic changes, though, serving their purpose well enough and leaving plenty of time for The Edge-of-your-seat acts the audience comes to see.

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Cirque du Soleil AMALUNA
Under the Big Top at AT&T Park
Through January 12
http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/amaluna



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