Alegría directed by Franco Dragone, presented by Cirque du Soleil at the Grand Chapiteau, Ontario Place. Runs to September 26, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Thursday to Saturday 4 pm, Sunday 1 and 5 pm. $75-$95, child $52.50-$66.50, limited Tapis Rouge VIP tickets $154-$220 (includes gift, food). 1-800-361-4595. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNN
It's been 10 years since Alegría, one of Cirque du Soleil 's more inspired shows, came to town, and it's a savvy marketing move to return it to the Grand Chapiteau down at Ontario Place. A whole new generation is ready for another high-fashion-meets-big-top extravaganza from what's arguably the most famous brand in live entertainment today.
Who cares that the shows recycle stunts and spectacles, or that the quasi-mythical themes feel repetitive and pretentious? There are clean porto-potties! Hot bodies! Cool merch!
Realizing that there are only so many ways you can flip, twirl and juggle, the creators help differentiate their shows with costumes, makeup and sets. Alegría's look is neo-baroque, at its best resembling a Gaultier runway show and at its worst evoking Mark McKinney's Kids In The Hall Chicken Lady getup.
As for the show itself, it's full of gravity- and physiology-defying feats that impress even after watching the Olympics. A blond guy balances and contorts his body while doing handstands on three thin metal supports. A minx-like girl becomes a human Saturn with half-a-dozen rings hula- hooping around her rippling young body. A hot guy gets hotter by breathing fire, then twirling flaming batons.
Not to be outdone, the Cirque clowns earn their salaries, too, performing some amusing turns that often subvert the show itself. A highlight comes at the end of the first act, when a cute bit involving a coat and hat metamorphoses into a magical train ride that the entire audience feels.
There are a few glitches. The lighting is off in a couple of key moments - one involving a clown and a flower - and the finale doesn't build much excitement.
Still, there's plenty of eye-popping stage magic. And the show's strong score ends with its infectious title tune, conveniently playing in the concession stand afterwards.