Cirque Éloize’s iD is a dazzling multimedia spectacle scripted and staged with brio by Montréal-based nouveau-cirque troupe’s artistic director and CEO Jeannot Painchaud. Set against a gritty multi-storey inner-city backdrop created and ingeniously honeycombed with doors and windows by scenic designer Robert Massicotte and performed on March 1st and 2nd in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall as part two of Carolina Performing Arts’ four-part first International Theater Festival, this eye-popping show showcased 13 circus disciplines, augmented by vivid science-fiction-style videos and slide projections and accompanied by a pounding soundtrack that mixed rock-and-roll and hip-hop compositions with the roar of elevated trains, the scream of sirens, the murmur of the crowd, the thumping of jackhammers, etc.
Highlights of iD include the flashy Cyr wheel maneuvers of Josianne Levasseur; the bouncing trail-bike antics of Thibaut Philippe; the higher-and-higher hand-balancing on four pairs of wooden chairs of Richard Maguire; the hand-to-hand acrobatics of Christopher Schlunk and Iris Pelz; the contortions and aerial hoop work of Manda Rydman; the contortions and aerial silks of Emi Vauthey; the juggling of Nicolas Fortin and Hugo Ouellet-Côté; the stilt-walking of Ryan Shinji Murray; the slick inline skating of Xuan Le; the Chinese pole act of Fletcher Sanchez; and the Urban Dancing of Melissa “Melly Mel” Flerangile, Christopher “Sancho” Garmatter, Richard Maguire, and Baptiste Montassier.
All in all, this splendid one-ring circus, without animal acts, eased the stresses of urban life in the inner city with a series of high-flying interludes, including several comic episodes with a bouncy trail bike and crowd-pleasing segments with jump ropes and trampolines and various aerial performers. Cirque Éloize’s iD proved once again that laughter is, indeed, the best medicine.
In addition to the National Theater of Scotland’s visceral Iraq War play Black Watch on Feb. 9-13 and Cirque Éloize’s iD on March 1st and 2nd, Carolina Performing Arts’ International Theater Festival includes Ex Machina’s production of The Andersen Project by Canadian playwright Robert Lepage on March 17th and 18th and Handspring Puppet Company’s performance of Woyzeck on the Highveld, South African multimedia fantasy based on an unfinished play by German dramatist Georg Büchner (1813-37), on April 1st and 2nd.
SECOND OPINION: To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Feb. 28th Triangle Theater Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2011/02/cirque-eloize-performs-id-at-unc-march-1st-and-2nd/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB9u2kg0zIc&feature=player_embedded.
iD: http://www.cirque-eloize.com/en/shows/id (official web page).
Cirque Éloize: http://www.cirque-eloize.com/en/home (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirque_Éloize (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Reviewpreviews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.