reviewed at the Towngate Theatre, Basildon on 26 January
This show really does live up to its title. There have been a number of spectaculars around over the past few years, some of which seem over-loaded with symbolism and even pretentious. This one has a framing device – a young girl reading a fantasy story and singing “Over the rainbow”. Here dream adventure takes her to a strange world which mingles pleasure with pain.
Dreams have a habit of flowing into nightmares just before waking. So there arer elements of Alice’s adventures down the rabbit-hole as well as through the (violently splintered) looking-glass. The beings she meets include a dominatrix singer, spangled-masked, who is both mentor and adversity.
Apart from the succession of orthodox circus skills our girl-dreamer encounters as she negotiates her way through what you could regard as an allegory of growing-up, Cirque Enchantment’s strength lies in the costuming and lighting. From the opening silver and white sequence, colurs mutate through the rainbow with sequins, feathers and flowing drapes of shimmering fabric cleverly lit to fill the stage without crowding it.
There are aerial displays, juggling, some magical work with hoops, juggling on and off a unicycle and bars which all succeed in a natural flow and contribute to the story lne. I can’t give you the names of individual performers or designers, as the company doesn’t offer programmes with this information. That’s a pity, as it’s a company which deserves an informed audience.
Four and a half-star rating.
Cirque Enchantment plays at the Hertford Theatre on 27 January, at the Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering on 16 February, the Marina Theatre, Lowestoft on 23 February and the Grove Theatre, Dunstable on 25 February.