Wednesday, April 03, 2019

"Cirque du Soleil Corteo" Review

From the opening number, any fear that a traveling arena show might deliver some sort of cut-rate Cirque du Soleil performance drifts away like one of the aerialists dangling from a rising chandelier.

Packed with two hours of effortlessly-performed feats of remarkable creativity, athleticism and finesse, "Corteo" delivers an authentic Cirque experience.

The hard-to-follow story involves a dead circus performer who looks back at a life well wasted in debauchery, performance craft and loves won and lost as angels elevate him to heaven.

That conceit is an excuse to deliver a frenetic and endlessly dazzling parade of mesmerizing set pieces, including trapeze artists tossing one another from one side of the stage to the other, acrobats spread out in spinning rings, tumblers vaulting over one another on teeter totters, a little person attached to helium balloons traipsing across extended palms of audience members and... remote-controlled Eiffel Towers.

That's just a taste of the wonders jammed into the astoundingly imaginative "Corteo." Costume changes, set shifting and comedic pantomime interludes flow in a seamless chain of eclectic wonder. The sheer level of energy reverberates through the arena, with performers who either take heedless joy in their routines or are good enough actors to convince you that they do.

The difficulty in enjoying "Corteo" comes in separating the analytical side of your mind from the sheer joy of the spectacle on display. The less time spent wondering how much training time they put in, what -- if anything -- these performers allow themselves to eat to stay in such ideal condition, and what types of injuries they subject themselves to during training, the better.

Just sit back, marvel like a child and let the angels lift your spirit away from your body, straight up into the glimmering ethereal lights above.

Cirque du Soleil Corteo plays through Sunday at Tucson Arena. Buy tickets here.

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