Review of Bai Xi at New Victory- one word: Awesome!
Here’s my review in one word: Awesome.
As I mentioned earlier, my son and I saw Cirque Shanghai on Sunday. It was (to coin a phrase) Awesome.
In my experience, Chinese and Russian circuses are always high in virtuosity, but a little stodgy in terms of style– they usually seem to either kowtow to the “super traditional” or seem to try for “modern” and get stuck about 25 years ago. This is NOT true of Bai Xi.
The producers/directors of Cirque Shanghai really have straddled a great line of producing a classic Chinese skills show with something very modern-feeling and hip. Not only have these guys been watching their MTV, they’ve also been watching their Youtube. The style of the show was very au courrant.
Not to say that it didn’t have traditional stuff as well. The opening image had a traditional Chinese masked character descending from the ceiling. He did a very traditional quick change act, where the mask kept on changing. It was beautifully done.Another act that was wonderfully staged was the pole act. These poles were attached only at the top, with a free standing bottom. This left a lot of room to play, using the poles as trapezes, moving objects. I see a lot of circus, and I’ve never seen the poles used in quite this fashion. It was really well done.
The shoulder ballet was also pretty impossible lookng and pretty amazing. A woman stands and does pointe on a guy’s head!
The stacking chair/balancing act was beautiful and impossibly tall, as it should be. The hoop diving was great, as was the strong man act. (Made more interesting, because these guys were not giants. They were relatively small as Strongmen go, but their act was impressive nonetheless) The wheel of Death was thrilling. And at the very end, they did a Chinese Bike act, where 12 or 13 people all are on one bike.
I counted 25 actors/gymnasts on the stage, and 24 of them could have thrown a backflip at any time. (The one exception was the clown, who was an older guy. He was fun, and gentle, and had some okay bits. But his virtuosity was not up to the level of the acrobatics.)
You should definitely see this show.
It’s at the New Victory Theatre through the end of December.
As always, the full disclosure is that I received these tickets for free in hopes that I would write about it. I only write about stuff I like, and my opinion is not tempered by the free-ness of the tickets.