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Eye-catching stunts paired with slapstick
and breakdancing sequences

"Cirque Dreams Illumination"
Bank of America Theatre
Chicago, IL
June 2, 2010
Cirque Dreams Illumination Cirque Dreams Illumination

Story by Andy Argyrakis
Publicity Photos

Anyone expecting "Cirque Dreams Illumination" to be the same old stunt show of jaw-dropping proportions has only half of the puzzle in place. Sure, there are plenty of spectacles, but considering the entire stage environment is unlike previous performances that rolled through town, calling this round predictable would be unfair. And aerial maneuvers of death-defying proportions are only part of this variety show of sorts, which also includes a fair amount of hip-hop styled dancing and a show stealing comic relief scene that's an anomaly for this alternative circus genre.

In terms of those gasp-worthy moments, fans of the Neil Goldberg created and directed show are in for contortionists clad in construction site-themed costumes, practically impossible gymnastic stunts, a twist on tight rope walking (we're talking full out flips on a thread thin wire) and people tossing other's bodies with merely their feet! Yet there's a unifying theme and storyline that runs throughout the showmanship, (a true rarity for this artistic discipline), which is a fleet of street artists on the aspiring journey to fame being documented by a news crew every step of the way.

Speaking of these roaming performers, there are plenty of musical interludes intermingled with the stunts, including a diva-like soul singer who could easily be cast in "Rent," a drummer who blasts beats with bouncy balls instead of sticks (all while juggling) and a hip-hop troupe led by a pop & locking breakdancer. In fact, that latter entertainer is an instant marvel, twisting and turning in remarkably uncomfortable positions with fluid nimbleness and a kooky smile on his face at all times.

Surprisingly, the most enjoyable segment throughout the entire progression came in one of the simplest displays that found a semi-traditional clown calling four unsuspecting cast members from the audience to participate in an off the cuff spoof of the film noir genre. During this particular date, the guest actors passed the test with flying colors and earned a hearty round of hoots for purposely overacting the intentionally silly slapstick. While not as high budgeted as like-minded Las Vegas productions (not to mention a fade out finale rather than a true climax), theatergoers should enter "Cirque Dreams Illumination" expecting the unexpected and being prepared to laugh a lot along the way.

"Cirque Dreams Illumination" continues through June 6 at the Bank of America Theatre. For additional details, visit or

Cirque Dreams Illumination Cirque Dreams Illumination

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