Review, Alegría: In A New Light, Cirque du Soleil, Royal Albert Hall, London by James Ellis

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

I wanted to see more of this stalwart of the circus world. I’m amazed by the number of people who turn up to see them. Now, even with Alegría one of Cirque du Soleil’s older shows has been revised and dubbed ‘In a New Light’.

Whilst I remained impressed by the international effort from a range of the circus spectrum, the novelty can wear off quite quickly. The clowns were just that little too childish, the only thing for the adults was a very suggestive cleaning of a gun motif which went on for years. There is universal humor, though the British like things a bit more angular. Flame eaters wowed with their circular fury. Ariel acts dazzled with grace and spirit. The singers belt out the same unrelenting refrain of ALEGRÍA just a little too much, though other songs are sweet and loving. Even the clowns made fun of this when the title song came up on their radio during a clean up of paper snow spread across the promenade and stalls.

Director Franco Dragone, with creative director Gilles Ste-Croix have created a show which would have held more weight back in its day. The costumes by Dominique Lemieux recall the golden era of fashion not quite circus eras but Art-Deco, Gothic and more. Composer René Dupéré wrote an award winning plush score not afraid to get really soupy or even rocky heavy. I realised that the acts are very similar from other shows, I guess it’s just the trappings which change. The athletic prowess  ever wants…it’s the pacing which struggles. A hock story about a crystal king is very slight and the clowns play a role in this, with little of so called plot development.

Most will find lots to love in Alegría: In A New Light. I think i’ll take a break for a while from the all consuming circus spectacle.

Alegría: In A New Light runs at the Royal Albert Hall till 3rd March, then on tour in Spain.

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