Chicago Theater Review: CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE (Chicago Theatre)

Post image for Chicago Theater Review: CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE (Chicago Theatre)

by Lawrence Bommer on December 18, 2014

in Theater-Chicago


Ringing in the Holidaze in CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE.It’s dazzle central and a welcome return to Chicago by the one-ring, 20-feat Cirque Dreams performers, but only through December 21. Their extravaganza Cirque Dreams Holidaze lives up to all three names with a two-hour spectacular to charm even the most jaded brat or cynical adult. Wonder isn’t on the menu—it’s the entire bill of fare as creator and director Neil Goldberg’s beautifully imagined pageant unfolds. Here holiday ornaments come to life and perform death-defying and life-affirming circus acts. And a few lucky audience members become bell ringers in an impromptu concert.

Gingerbread Cookies in CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE.Thirty artists seem to be many more, what with 300 costume changes set to a supple and infectious score by the appropriately named Jill Winters and David Scott (buttressed by jazzed-up holiday standards). Mixing Broadway savvy with a ton of pizzazz, Goldberg’s confection employs no text to structure this wake-up call to a winter wonderland. He simply fleshes out—and revitalizes—the seminal imagery of the season. Life size or larger, the Chicago Theater stage becomes an ever-evolving runway for reindeer, penguins, Yule fashionistas, hand puppets, angels, stilt marionettes, toy soldiers and trains, sleighs, snowmen, a giant blow-up gingerbread man, and remnants of a Renaissance masquerade. Above it all looms a sleek, giant sci-fi Christmas tree, a Hanging on a candycane in CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE.shiny sculpture that seems to set the show’s standards.

Gathered from many lands, the extremely ept ensemble offers flash fun. Their very skilled selves somersault, flip or simply process. We’re treated to a carnival of roller skaters, chair stackers, soarers on sashes, rope jumpers, sway p0le dancers, and flying angels who are not above erotic entanglements. Two men on a tiny teeterboard deliver thrills wholesale. Hoop and plate spinners, jugglers and acrobats cavort who could balance on a dime, and so much more.

When you’ve seen crystal glasses, decanters, and candles balanced on a tiny tray, then taken up a ladder, well, a lot more seems possible than it had five minutes earlier. A magician changes his and his assistant’s costumes faster than any eyes can ever catch. Contortionists, whose pain we feel but they hide, turn their bodies in ways the mind may not accept.

Ornaments on Tree in CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE.

Non-stop splendor with a bracing touch of kitsch, this literally ornamental show never lets up on major magic or dedicated make-believe. The law of gravity isn’t suspended but these daring aerialists are—and without a net or spotters. (Also, for those who care, in this circus the only animals on view are bipeds.) Of course the Clauses show up to make it look legit but, if that’s not enough, Elvis is also in the house.

To say that this Christmas circus is perfect for kids is the highest praise possible. We’re only as young as the shows we see. This one would give Ponce de León a run for his fountain.

The Icemen in CIRQUE DREAMS courtesy of  Jam Theatricals

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Jam Theatricals & Cirque Productions
Chicago Theatre, 175 North State St.
ends on December 21, 2018
for tickets, call 800.745.3000
or visit Ticketmaster
for discounted group tickets (10 or more),
call 312.423.6612 or visit Group Theater Tix

for more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago

Leave a Comment