Cirque Du Soleil, Dralion

Review in Issue 16-1 | Spring 2004

You used to know where you stood. Contemporary circus had postmodem knowingness, hip costumes, rock music and plenty of mime / physical theatre input. Traditional circus had teams of Chinese acrobats, spangly costumes, big-voiced cabaret singers and clowns in ill-fitting dinner suits who spoke to each other in Italian… all of which are features of the latest Cirque Du Soleil production Dralion. Nothing wrong with that of course – I’m a great fan of the classic circus model. And, most importantly for any circus show, there are some outstanding acts: juggler Viktor Lee combines slinky, sinuous choreography with flawless dexterity, the heart-in-mouth double trapeze is superbly skilled and the aerial tissu double act (featuring UK performer Colette Morrow) is elegant and sensuous.

My teenage son goes for the fiery macho bravado of the all-male bamboo pole act and the high-energy hoop diving. He also, interestingly, prefers Dralion to the last show Quidam because it’s ‘more like a real circus’. I enjoyed myself – but I’m a bit bemused by the eschewing of the usual Soleil nods towards theatre – here reduced to a vague ‘Elemental’ theme that amounts to little more than denoting a colour for each of the personifications of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The publicity claims the show to be a merging of the traditional Chinese circus and the avant-garde approach of Cirque du Soleil – but the experimental takes a back seat in this production. In fact, Dralion is not a million miles away from the Chinese State Circus (the eponymous Dralion turns out to be a sort of Foo-Dog). How confusing!

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-1
p. 27