REVIEW – Luzia – Cirque Du Soleil

I’ve been trying to figure out for the last week how to express my feelings on Cirque du Soleil’s most recent touring show, Luzia. How to do Luzia justice in words when it is such a visual and aural dessert. No quality or amount of words seem appropriate or fair. To unintentionally limit this show with words would be like trapping an exotic butterfly; it just shouldn’t be done. This spirited show needs to be seen and heard in its natural (and surreal!) state. I’m compelled/inspired to attempt to share, but I’d also understand if you simply stopped reading the impossible. I’d encourage you to overt your eyes from the commercials and numerous videos taken from audience members (booooo, I hate this new “allowed” trend), not take in a single review with specific visual spoilers (I’ll speak in ambiguity here) and just grab your tickets and experience Luzia in all its luscious, saturated hues of joy and explosive celebratory awesome.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see 7 Cirque shows to date, and I’ll venture to say Luzia breaks the mold (a very effective, successful mold at that) in just about every way. It is nature and science and mythology, architecture, history and community in the boldest visual feast I’ve seen. I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful the show was. Stunningly so. Every last detail, down to the trim on the bloomers that peak from beneath layered skirts that flow and flip with every leap and physics defying feat. With the most integrated and vitally intertwined soundtrack to me since Alegria, and a strong choreography component that assists in creating the most cohesive story of any Cirque show I’ve seen, the first act particularly is a wonderland. Each act and scene transition floats, soars, side steps, plunges and wades through rich, whimsical dreamscapes, whispering and shouting to the artist in us all.

By every measure the expectations of the technical (which are set pretty high to begin with) were blown out of the water, especially in the first act. What a treat. What a show. What jaw-dropping, unexpected magic around every corner from innovative, truly unique, custom technology. So artful, so complex, layered and with such an emotional result I could not have been more in the moment up through intermission. Such heart, such soul, such humor and astounding puppetry I hadn’t seen in any cirque show prior used masterfully in storytelling. And, by far the most brilliant clown I’ve ever seen anywhere. Side splitting, well crafted, superbly entertaining clowning all around.

Act two in my mind couldn’t possibly compete with the exhilarating over stimulation and momentum of the first act, and while I’d say for me it did have a different feel, a less childlike, imaginative exuberance and more of a spiritual, mature, reflective undertone, it didn’t diminish or tarnish in any way the overall experience. Act two simply contained my least favorite acts, though neither were in any way poor. In truth, I’m never going to be able to handle contortionists; the act offends my sensibilities more than people who don’t use their turn signals when changing lanes on the freeway. I’m sure he was great, but I’d rather watch surgery if truth be known. This is a standard, expected act that just isn’t likely to ever to make me feel anything but nausea. Juggling is another core act in any Cirque show and while the juggler was as skilled if not more so than others I had seen, I didn’t feel there was a unique hook with his act. It seemed the least meaningful of all the acts.

But, back to the injustice of words. I really can’t recommend this production more highly. I really can’t. This extra-sensory, otherworldly, colorful Mexico flavored candy is not to be missed (a phrase I don’t use lightly or often).  5 out of 5 jewels in the review tiara. Luzia, A Waking Dream of Mexico plays through March 19th under the Big Top at the Taylor Street Bridge in San Jose.

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