|Cirque Shanghai Extreme
Check for half-price tickets
Amazing to the extreme!
|Navy Pier, in conjunction with International Special Attractions, presents|
|Cirque Shanghai Extreme|
Review by Katy Walsh
Gliding through the air, plummeting from the ceiling, parading through the audience… and that’s just within the first few minutes! Navy Pier, in conjunction with International Special Attractions, Ltd., presents the world premiere production of Cirque Shangai Extreme. About two dozen performers join forces to create a vibrant spectacle. They begin and end the show with a dazzling procession clad in shiny oriental style costumes. In between, they defy gravity, logic and death in stunts that mystify. Special delivery from China, Cirque Shanghai Extreme amazes with flashy, mega extraordinary feats.
Extreme is the word to describe this show! Each act already stuns for its sheer physicality, and then Cirque Shanghai adds another element. Over the top to the extreme! Instead of 1 acrobat balanced perpendicular to 1 pole, there are 3 men on 3 poles. Astonishing times nine! A guy balancing a free-standing ladder has another guy standing on his shoulders and a gal standing on that guy’s shoulders. But that’s not enough, Cirque Shanghai has two more gals dangling from the middle guy. WOW! The best example of acts Shanghai-ed to the extreme is “Imperial Thunder.” In a large metal ball, a motorcyclist loops sideways and upside-down. It’s cool! Then, they add a second biker. It’s crazy watching them race around this containment without killing each other. Then, they add a third biker. Next to me, my friend blurts out, “shut-up!” It’s heart-pounding madness! Then, they add a fourth biker. The visual becomes a magical blur reminiscent to a Harry Potter quibbage match. It’s pure wizardry!
The show, directed by Miao Miao Chen, is quick-paced. Chen rapid-fires the entertainment. It’s tight and fast-flowing. The variety and number of acts is impressive. Always a favorite for me is the enchantment of aerial silks. The performer suspends upside-down from another performer dangling by her ankle looped in a piece of flimsy fabric. The effortless movement is always gorgeous and the idea is mind-blowing. The contrast transfixes me. A juggling hat number goes interactive with audience recruits. It adds slapstick fun to the show. Following the amateur buffoonery, the troupe creates a bigger hat trick illusion. For my show, some hats were dropped, but as far as acts to make a mistake… the hat one causes no permanent injury.
Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo is playing this summer at the United Center (our 4-star review here). For families on a budget, it’s important to compare. Ovo is exquisite! It has a live band, majestic costumes, and bug storyline. The sophisticated visual is like Vosges Chocolates. Exotic, indulgent, delicious! But tickets range from $50-$243.50. Comparatively, Cirque Shanghai Extreme is more like a bag of Hershey Bars. Solid, satisfying, tasty! The action-packed show is what kids crave! And tickets range from only $17.50-$32.50. Kids, 3-12 years old, are $15.
Cirque Shanghai Extreme continues through September 5th (Labor Day) at Navy Pier Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand. Tickets are $15-$32, and can be purchase by phone (800-745-3000) or online at Cirque’s website. More information at NavyPier.com. Running Time: Sixty-five minutes with no intermission. All photos by Sean Williams.
Performance dates/times: Wednesdays at 2pm, 4pm and 7:30pm, Thursdays at 2pm and 7:30pm, Fridays at 2pm, 4pm and 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm, 6pm and 8pm, Sundays at 12pm, 2pm and 5pm
3-WORDS: Surviving a motorcycle stunt over our heads, my gang describes the show with Bill: ‘new Barnum & Bailey,’ Jen: ‘high-energy, cheerful and sparkly”, and the third “ludicrous, awe-inspiring feats”.