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After over a quarter of an hour of tedious low-level clowning around, Canadian company Cirque du Soleil finally gets into its stride with the calibre of lavishly costumed acts which have won a worldwide following.

A trio of interwoven contortionists flex themselves into seemingly impossible shapes, a trapeze artist flies in the air, a duo on a unicycle performs with balletic flair and there’s leapfrogging on the high wire.

After the interval things get even better. Two men tumble and twist not only within - but also on -the rim of their wheel of death (a cross between a pair of hamster wheels and a furiously rotating egg-timer).

Seemingly defying gravity, their rough, fluid grace combined with daredevil attack make them the stars of the show.

Hard on their heels come a woman skilfully twirling luminous hoops into mysterious marine outlines and a precariously balanced solo artist building a lofty tower of chairs with controlled elegance.

Finally, a couple of the heftier members of the (unnamed) cast use their combined weight to propel their lighter colleagues off the teeter board.

One wearing a pair of stilts, another strapped to just a single one, they’re sent spinning high into the air to land with perfect precision.  

Over the years Cirque have sacrificed some of the ethereal wonderment of their early productions to commercial success – but, if only they’d ditch the clowns and reduce the overlong interval, they’d have a far tighter show which punters could sit back and relish without  having to worry about missing the last tube home.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
Tube | South Kensington
till 14th February
tickets £20  - £95
royalalberthall.com
cirquedusoleil.com


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Kooza - Cirque du Soleil review: Royal Albert Hall, London
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