A Magical Cirque Christmas arrived at the Durham Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Dec. 1st, with promises of high-flying acrobats, magicians, music, and comedy; and, oh boy, did they deliver! A full audience of excited children and parents prepared to kick off the holiday season enjoyed a show that somehow literally flew by.
Produced by Simon Painter, Tim Lawson, and MagicSpace Entertainment, A Magical Cirque Christmas is part of a series of cirque tours that have been produced worldwide for more than 35 years. The cast represents the best of the magical arts and acrobatics from all over the world, all of them provide thrills and laughs to meet the expectations of every audience member, both young and old.
The show, emceed by one of U.K.’s top comedy magicians, John Archer, begins with his introduction to the Christmas show and to the troupe of performers who’ll join him. Archer is a well-respected and award-winning performer who reached the semifinal rounds of Britain’s Got Talent and won the Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year award. In addition to emceeing and comedy, Archer also plays the ukulele and sings.
Therese Curatolo, a singer whose angelic voice gives new life to some of the old holiday classics, accompanied each act, providing a beautiful timeline to the seamless variety of amazing stunts performed onstage. Her voice ranges from operatic high notes to throaty, jazzy tones, all of which are perfect for Christmas standards.
Part of the magic of this show is … actually, magic! America’s Got Talent contestant Yusaku “Mochi” Mochizuki (from Japan) is on the program as a juggler; but his fusion of visual art, dance, and juggling truly appears more magical than the average juggler. He mesmerizes with his art/sport, and has performed all over the world as a top diabolo-juggling artist. The precise control and amazing speed of his performance drew gasps from the audience, especially the little ones who wanted to know it was done.
On the duo trapeze, Virginie Gerbeau (from France) and Zoe Sanscartier (from Montréal) proved that women can be as strong on the duo trapeze as men. They flew through the air effortlessly, with death-defying catches and amazingly intricate mid-air acrobatics.
From the Ukraine, Oleksiy “Alex” Mruz balances on the Rola Bola, a balancing board placed atop a circular surface. By combining several different- sized rolling surfaces, he builds a tower, bending and balancing so precariously that the audience held its collective breath.
One of the most beautiful acts of the show was Duo X Lines, Sergei Kozakov and Anastasiia Niukina from the Ukraine, who create the beautifully balletic high-flying act with duo straps and duo adagio. By contorting themselves while hanging in the air, this couple twists and drops and flips with physical strength beyond what most of us will ever know. Their work is poetry in motion.
Another of the international performances was Ray Rodrigues and Henry Green from Cuba, who are masters at foot juggling. One of the oldest circus disciplines, foot juggling requires one of the performers to juggle the other, sending their partner into dizzying flips and spins.
The Cyr wheel, a large hula-hoop, is where Rachel Salzman (U.S.) shines. A type of dance-acrobatics, the wheel is used as both a tool, as well as a partner, of sorts. The hypnotic dance that the wheel and Salzman create is stunning, graceful, and elegant.
A true juggler, Eduardo Garza of Mexico, is both fast and entertaining, attempting at times to spin more than six pins at once. Garza keeps things moving at such a brilliant pace that the lights from his juggled objects blur.
All of these acts performed on the center of DPAC‘s stage, with members of the audience in three rows on either side, some of whom were included in the show itself, to the delight of their friends and family.
This one-of-a-kind production, part of DPAC‘s WRAL Greatest Hits of Broadway Series, is a complete delight for the holidays!
SECOND OPINION: Dec. 2nd Raleigh, NC Triangle Arts and Entertainment review Susie Potter: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2019/12/dpacs-a-magical-cirque-christmas-delights-and-enthralls-viewers/.
A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS (Durham Performing Arts Center, Dec. 1 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, NC 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District).
SHOW: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/a-magical-cirque-christmas and https://www.facebook.com/events/2252102758386604/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.magicalcirquechristmas.com/cirque_christmas/videos.html.
DPAC NEWS RELEASES: https://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/dpac-announce-digital-rush-lottery-for-a-magical-cirque-christmas, https://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/added-matinee-for-the-dpac-premiere-of-a-magical-cirque-christmas-goes-on-sale-thursday-oct-3rd-at-1000-am, and https://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/tickets-for-the-dpac-premiere-of-a-magical-cirque-christmas-go-on-sale-friday-july-19-at-1000-am.
DPAC‘S “WRAL GREATEST HITS OF BROADWAY” SERIES: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/category/broadway.
THE TOUR: https://www.magicalcirquechristmas.com/cirque_christmas/, https://www.magicspace.net/producing/magic-cirque-christmas, https://www.facebook.com/AMagicalCirqueChristmas/, https://www.instagram.com/amagicalcirquechristmas/, https://twitter.com/cirquechristmas, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClxBlRNOfFDXEKtfwlxzhFw.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://www.instagram.com/dpacnc/, https://twitter.com/DPAC, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center, and https://www.youtube.com/user/DPACLive.
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Dawn Reno Langley is the award-winning author of The Mourning Parade, as well as other novels, children’s books, nonfiction books, essays, short stories, poems, and articles. She is the creator of The Writer’s Hand Journals and runs workshops on using journals in every walk of life. A Fulbright Scholar, she holds the MFA in Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT, and the PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from Union Institute and University. She lives in Durham with her dog, Izzy. To read all of Dawn Langley’s Triangle Review reviews online at Triangle Arts and Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/dawn-reno-langle/.