‘Cirque Dreams Illumination’ excites senses with unreal performances

'Cirque Dreams Illumination' Pitchforks: 5 out of 5 Starring: Marybeth Kern, Martin Lamberti, Onyie Nwachukwu, Stelly Rodriguez Vega Run Dates: Through Nov. 14

“Cirque Dreams Illumination” — it’s part circus, part magic show. It’s part dance show, part musical performance. It’s even part comedy.

Watching the show is like being transported into another world where people can bend and twist their limbs more times than imaginable, where giant painters’ overalls dance around, and where vaudevillians climb illuminated stairs that disappear once they reach the top.

On top of the acrobatics and feats of strength that are performed on stage, the show features an original score from Jill Winters and David Scott, additional music by Tony Aliperti, and vocals sung by the reporter/singer Onyie Nwachukwu.

There’s not a lot to say about the show except that it is astounding. It doesn’t have a particularly progressive storyline, but each performer is portrayed as a member of the city doing their job, who just happens to be ridiculously talented as well.

The colors, the costumes, the stunts — every bit of the show is a treat for your senses. While the music perfectly complements the actions in the performance, the costumes and set enhance the performers’ characters.

At any one time, there are so many people to watch on stage that one could never be bored sitting in the audience. It’s like watching a three-ring circus.

Each scene had its main performer to focus on, yet I found myself looking around the whole stage in awe.

While the performers from around the world were shocking the crowd, there were also human set pieces frolicking around. There were humans without heads walking on and off the stage, giant traffic cones wandering here and there, and even a person with a moon head that stood at the top of a stairway for a few moments.

The costumes that these actors wore were impressive, to say the least. They were also extremely imaginable, almost like they came straight from a dream — an almost scary dream, but a dream so mesmerizing that one can’t look away.

One particular segment of the show that stood out involves audience participation. On Wednesday, four audience members were pulled out of the crowd and brought on stage where the vagabond/vaudevillian/director, Martin Lamberti, directed them with blows of his whistle for an on-stage movie. The comedy that ensued was priceless and irreplaceable.

Other notable parts of the show came about every time the clique chick/cube aerialist/traffic twisters were on stage. These women, Uranmandakh Amarsanaa, Buyankhishig Ganbaatar, Erdenesuvd Ganbaatar and Odgerel Oyunbaatar, come out a few times and the feats they achieve are remarkable.

They move in and out around cubes that are strung up in the air and contort around one another’s bodies — and that is just the beginning.

The performers are amazing, the music is wonderful, and the costumes are extraordinary. Beyond that, this isn’t a cookie cutter show; one can’t predict what’s going to happen, and from the gasps in the audience, it is clear that this show will keep you on edge.

This particular Cirque production moved from the Mesa Arts Center to the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix on Thursday, and it will run until Sunday. The Orpheum Theater is located at 203 W. Adams St. and tickets are available online.

Reach the reporter at mmattox@asu.edu


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