Chicago Theatre Review
Ten Lords A Leaping, Nine Ladies Dancing…
Cirque Dreams Holidaze – Chicago Theatre
A completely unique kind of entertainment for the holidays (or holidaze, if you will) has arrived in Chicago for a short visit. It’s part of a globally produced brand, headquartered in Pompano Beach, Florida. The entertainment company develops shows for cruise ships, national tours and theme parks for the entire country. Their productions, like this one, are splashy, high tech entertainments filled with gravity-defying acrobatics, unbelievable aerial acts and baffling magical illusion. The shows are inventively costumed in brightly colored, tightly fitting spandex, satin and velvet and decorated with enough sequins and spangles to cause temporary blindness. This particular variety show aims to dazzle Chicago audiences at Christmastime before heading off to New York City for the new year.
When the curtain rises, the stage is dominated by an assortment of oversized presents and an enormous, lavishly decorated and brightly lit Christmas tree, that would put Uncle Drosselmeyer’s magical growing centerpiece from “The Nutcracker” to shame. The program tells us that “time awakens suddenly…and sees that the ornaments are no longer asleep…” as three talented, sequined, singing humanized decorations serve as our hosts. Original songs and Christmas carols, along with soaring ethereal orchestral music, provide an aural background for the evening’s extravaganza. More than 20 acts performed by 30 highly-skilled performance artists dazzle and delight young and old alike. There are skaters, rope jumpers, acrobats and aerial performers of all kinds, puppets, illusionists, jugglers and many performers who simply defy labels. The familiar holiday characters include dancing gingerbread men, wobbly penguins, flying angels, impish elves, bouncy snowmen, bejeweled candy canes, ringing bells (with a bit of audience participation) and, of course, Santa Claus. There’s literally something for everyone in this show and the overall effect is eye-popping and mind-boggling.
With all the usual holiday fare featured around Chicago at this time of year, Cirque Dreams Holidaze brings a spectacular, brilliantly performed and technically magnificent entertainment that is just that: a dazzling dream that’s all about everything that the holidays inspire. It’s as if “The 12 Days of Christmas” came to life in one three-ring circus of entertainment!
Reviewed by Colin Douglas
Presented by Jam Theatricals December 17-21 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago
Tickets are available in person at the Chicago Theatre box office, by calling 800-745-3000 or going to www.ticketmaster.com.
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by going to www.theatreinchicago.com.