Cirque Du Ciel's new show Shang-Hi is a good old-fashioned variety show for the whole family. It succeeds because just when you think the talented troupe have upped the ante, they surprise you with another superb stunt.
Audiences used to the wow factor of Cirque Du Soleil may be slightly disappointed with the production values here. But to be honest, I can live without the annoying clowns and the smoke and mirrors. The reason being, that the acrobatics on display here simply shines without effects, gimmicks and miming to backing tracks.
The narrative involving a young girl and her dreams starts to become repetitive but director Zhang Wan manages to include elements of ballet, dance, acrobatics, gymnastics, juggling, and stunning aerial displays. Each and every one of the performers are excellent as they bring so much passion and verve to the piece. And the live drumming does provide the piece with a heartbeat.
I particularly enjoyed the group who climb the Chinese Monkey Poles effortlessly as the effect is mesmerising as they resemble spiders and you cannot believe that people can do this. But there is so much to see here and much of it leaves you open mouthed. The costumes have all the pizzazz required but at times the video projection and soundtrack are imposing and the quality of both of these is not quite what you expect.
But with Wan's fast pace paced production, the performers are the key and with over 30 of them on stage - giving their all - there is no doubt that Shang-Hi has got talent. Should you see the show? It's a big fat yes from me.