Review of Cirque Éloize's iD at Proctors Theatre
by Katie Beltramo
Cirque Éloize's "iD" opened at Proctors on August 2nd and will continue next weekend as well as part of their summer residency program at the theater. Cirque Éloize and Proctors will offer performances as well as Circus Experience Classes as part of their five-year commitment to each other and our community. Like last year, the youngest kids' classes have sold out, but those ages 15 and up (and that means grown-ups, too!) can still get in on the fun this summer if you act fast.
"iD" features 15 unbelievably talented circus artists who combine circus elements like the Cyr Wheel, silks, the Chinese Pole and juggling in new and unexpected ways. More unexpected, they also transform all sorts of items your kids have at home (a bike, tennis balls, jump ropes, chairs, and rollerblades) into tools to create astonishing, funny, and lovely acts.Thibaut Philippe uses his Trial Bike as a springboard to some amazing feats, made even more dramatic when a member of the audience was brought in to help. If you have a daredevil child, (s)he'll get all sorts of new ideas for things to scare the pants off of you after watching this show.
The combinations of different elements also leads to surprising and wonderful moments, like a mini love story played out in silks and rollerblades. Along with a couple of love stories, there are recurrent group scenes that recall West Side Story's gang-style dance fight sequences, but if you're looking for plot in this show, you won't find much. Instead of trying, just let yourself get swept away in the fun. Along with the individual acts, there is plenty of group dance featuring elements of hip hop and breakdancing, plenty of loud music, fund moving scenery, and special effects. In fact, as I mentioned in last year's review, the minimal plot offers a tremendous perk for families. The show is completely kid-appropriate, with no bad words or even sight gags to make parents wince. It offers plenty of action and visual stimulation, and if a particular act doesn't impress your child, something new will be coming up soon.
Also like last year, I couldn't help but think that this show's a great way to teach young kids about teamwork and effort. The juggling act shows coordiation that displays long hours of practice, and the more dangerous acts like the balancing on the chairs show extraordinary care and trust between the performers. It's an inspiration and a good lesson for kids. Unlike, say, the ballet, where performers work hard to make things appear effortless, the performers of Cirque Éloize are happy to offer the audience a look or gesture to ensure we understand that what they're doing is hard work.
And the audience responds! There were audible gasps and applause throughout the show, including one woman whooping loudly when a man removed his shirt (I restrained myself, but I was with her in spirit). When the 20-minute intermission was announced, you could here "Awwww" from all over. Having seen last year's show, I much preferred "iD." The energy level is high, the acts are playful and upbeat, and everyone is having fun. The finale, an everyone-in Trampowall extravaganza, had the crowd cheering and ending the show with a quick-rising standing ovation.
"iD" runs about two hours with one 20-minute intermission, strobe lights are used during the performance and tickets range from $20 to $50. For details, click here.