Le Grand Cirque – Fantazie

Le Grande Cirque, the latest generation of the circus extravaganza is a spectacular, all-encompassing feat for the senses. With over 50 world champion acrobats and performers from more than fifteen countries, Le Grande Cirque presents a dynamic, global melting pot of cultures, churned out over two solid hours of relentless acrobatic stunts, slapstick hijinks and decadent production values.

Dubbed as the latest evolution in modern circus performance, i.e. one step up from Cirque Du Soleil, this new venture seeks to alter the perceptions of the contemporary circus fan, by placing the extravagant experience in the more accessible theatrical environment and embellishing it with a milder sense of humour that will appeal to family audiences.

The show begins with crowd-involving activities by the Cirque’s resident host Salvador Salangsang, who punctuates the show with his interactive crowd fixtures. More often than not, these interchanges bring a sense of communal excitement to the audience, but on a couple of instances, his banal interactions leave an overwrought viewer feeling agitated. Be warned, if you are sitting in the stalls, there is a small chance that Salangsang will weave you into his comic interlude, bringing you onto stage to fill in the vacant gaps when the ‘Adonis’ acrobats are no doubt prepping backstage.

The most enthralling sections however involve the acrobatic stunts, which finds agile performers effortlessly shinning up ropes, carrying out back flips through tiny hoops, whilst reinventing traditional circus acts such as ‘plate spinning’—in this case, a group of girls spin plates, whilst interlocked in a moving, high-velocity human tower.

The most stunning of these grandiose displays takes place before the end of the first curtain call, when a young girl uses her body to balance a series of burning candles across the space of her entire body. Certainly, who doesn’t find the idea of a person who can double up as a virtual candleholder, endearing? The fun doesn’t stop there, of course. Perfectly defined torsos lunge about in seamless unison, along to thumping contemporary and classical music, which splices in the Bolero with a rock soundtrack, before evening out into ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’.

In the end, Le Grande Cirque Fantazie is only really hindered by its desire to appeal to the whole family. At times, I hungered for an exploration into some of the darker themes that would befit the medium, but alas, my desires were left slightly unfulfilled by the overwhelming happy-go-lucky raucous, which brings the circus show to its screeching finale.

This aside, Le Grande Cirque Fantazie is a full-throttle piece of action that thrills, delights and leaves audiences gasping for their breath.

– Omar Kholeif