By Megan Mooney
Amazing strength, agility and beauty grace the stage in the Cirque Eloize Toronto presentation of iD
If I ever wondered what it would be like to witness true spectacle, I need not anymore. Watching Cirque Eloize perform i.D. at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts felt like watching the definition of spectacle, and it was wonderful.
Usually I try to avoid talking about what a piece is supposed to do, because who really knows what a piece if meant to do and what the intentions of a creator are other than the creator themselves, but i.D. felt like it did exactly what it was meant to do. It filled me with awe. It was delightful.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t some life-changing event, but it was a really really really fun evening. As John, my show partner for this one, said, everything fit, the art direction was the best part of the night. John pointed out that he’s seen many of these individual feats before, and as impressive as it is to see people with such physical prowess, it was the art direction that pulled it all together. In fact, even through generally I’m not a huge fan of loud club music, the loud club music worked perfectly in this piece and I really enjoyed it.
They did amazing things with projections on the stage. He told me "the projections and lights integrated really well, It created a kinetic set that was part of the action." I have to agree. In fact, the first note I took of the night was about how much I loved the ‘drawing’ of the background in the first number.
While this was a feast for the eyes, it seemed to try unsuccessfully to add in some ‘substance’ through a storyline. Turns out that the storyline detracted from the piece for John and I. When the ‘rival gangs’ pull off their coloured bands and all hug and live happily ever after I found myself sighing exasperatedly. And, John pointed out that he’s pretty sick of anything that is trying to be about a major urban experience seems to have to involve gangs. While gangs are a reality of large urban centres, they are only a reality for a very very small percentage of the population. But it’s okay, the annoyance only lasts a second, because then we’re right back into some amazing visual treat.
I really loved that sometimes it’s hard to figure out what makes this a ‘circus’ instead of just a really cool multidisciplinary dance piece. It really was beautifully choreographed. I think my favourite piece from a visual standpoint was the combination of areal dancing and figure skating done on rollerblades.
Other things you can look forward to are amazing juggling, lots of dancing, crazy contortions, a bike climbing blocks, stunning juggling, trampoline dancing,
And something that I can only describe as ‘pole-work’, although it probably has some official name that sounds much less like it belongs in a strip club. It involves a man who can lightly leap up to the top of a big pole and then do any number of acrobatics. It’s the piece that stands out the most to me. He was amazing. A bit of research has revealed that his name is Fletcher Sanchez and the pole work it is called "Chinese Pole". So, dear Fletcher, if you’re reading this, you blew my mind.
The new Sony Centre (old O’Keefe Centre and then Hummingbird Centre) is lovely. It has been restored instead of redesigned. It’s a lovely homage to what it was. It gleams, but still feels like the place we know. They are also pairing food with the performances of the season, so you can actually buy dinner at the theatre, which is a nice benefit.
My only complaint, and it’s kind of a big one, is that if you have a big bum, you’re not going to be comfortable in the balcony. Every seat has a cup holder, which when I heard about it seemed like a great idea and I was excited by it. Unfortunately, in practice, doesn’t quite work. Up on the balcony the cup holders are on the arms of the seat and if you’re lower body is ample, they hurt. They make the seat much smaller and depending on how big the bum in the seat is, they are also rendered useless because of the body pushing into them. Now, as I say this I will acknowledge that I’m much bigger than most, but even John, who is pretty much average, found it a bit tight and uncomfortable.
On the main floor the cup holders are on the seats in front of you, which is far better, and my wide ass fit nicely in the seat. But, then the cup holders got in the way of my legs, which is far preferable than what was happening in the balcony where I was actually in pain, but still kind of annoying. Which brings me back to the fact that the cup holders are a fantastic idea in theory, but in practice the benefits are outweighed by the detractors.
But back to Cirque Eloize… i.D. is a fantastic show. Go see it. Seriously, you’ll be glad you did.
– i.D. is playing until October 9, 2010 at the Sony Centre for the Arts (1 Front Street E)
– Performances are October 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9, 2010. All performances begin at 8 pm with the exception of the October 3 which is a 2pm matinee
– Ticket prices range from $35 to $77
– Tickets are available by calling 416-872-2262, online or in person at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts Box Office (1 Front Street East, Toronto). Group discounts (8 people +) may be purchased by calling 416-393-7463 or 1-866-737-0805.