The cast of Cirque Eloize knows how to juggle its various tasks.
If you like a circus that balances “Holy Cow!” physical feats with Shakespearean poetics, step right up to “Cirkopolis.”
The highly polished and stylish show is the latest work from Montreal’s Cirque Eloize, a troupe known for circus-dance-theater mashups.
The company borrows thematic juice from Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” a 1927 cinematic classic of man versus machine. The opening establishes the idea instantly as a scruffy Everydrone faces an ever-growing stack of papers to push.
Meanwhile, video projections reveal a forbidding cityscape and closeups of grinding gears. Everything is gray.
Amid a gray backdrop, a form in purple pops out n ‘Cirkopolis.’
Got it? Okay, the imagery isn’t subtle, but it purposefully sets the stage for a loose and fanciful tale of personal expression trumping assembly-line monotony. Eventually bursts of color and energy bring the sense of wonder you want from a circus.
The cast of 12 includes contortionists, acrobats, teeterboard flippers and aerialists who don’t just specialize but multitask.
One favorite is a woman in red, who sets the bar high early with poignant pas de deux with a huge hoop. She has more moves than Justin Timberlake.
Cheers to the resident strongman and strap-happy aerialist, a pec-tacular specimen who uses his beefy physique for thrills and laughs. And to the woman in purple and the five men who hoist and flip her like a feather — thanks for the erotic ballet.
in ‘Cirkopolis,’ the lithe performers bend over backward to overcome a paper-pushing world.
Co-directors Jeannot Painchaud and Dave St-Pierre, who also choreographs, guide a fluid, fast-moving 90-minute show.
Not everything clicks. Some original songs are insipid, and literally leaving a rope acrobat dangling near the end of the show feels sloppy.
But that’s quibbling, since Cirque Eloize is so terrific at giving audiences plenty to look at. In many circuses, there’s one juggler. Here all the performers get in on the juggling act, and the bowling pins go flying in every direction.
Considering the show’s theme, the joyful community effort is as eloquent as it is impressive.