Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Review and photos: Cirque Dreams Holidaze brings on the cheer at Winspear
Languid choreography and hokey music detract from the jaw-dropping feats from seasonally clad acrobats.
DALLAS In Cirque Dreams Holidaze, high-energy acrobatics take center stage at the Winspear Opera House, with a monstrous backdrop of candy canes and shimmering lights in a holiday spectacle that would smack “Bah, humbug” off Scrooge’s lips.
Not to be confused with Cirque du Soleil, shows from the Cirque Dreams franchise typically include pop songs and recognizable American characters and story tropes. Created and directed by Neil Goldberg in 1993, Holidaze puts the emphasis on showmanship.
Languid choreography and some hokey music detract from the jaw-dropping feats performed by an array of seasonally clad acrobats, including a tightrope-walking toy soldier and gingerbread men executing high flips. There are no bad seats in the house, as snowmen are inflated to epic proportion and angels fly on aerial silks.
Holidaze opens with the number “Once Upon a Dream,” sung by the show’s musical narrators: an angel, Ice Queen, Dickens, and an elf. A narrative never really unfolds. Instead the show presents a barrage of holiday ornaments that come to life and create mischief. The short list includes snowmen, sugar plums, angels, Santa, and penguins.
As the wobbly penguin balances on a roller board, characters mosey back and forth behind him. One minute a parade of smaller penguins waddles by, the next the Ice Queen is strolling with the angel and Dickens. These entrances shift audience attention away from the acrobatics to a new character or elaborate costume.
As a show focused on spectacle, Holidaze succeeds, a sugar rush sure to delight younger audience members. The set and costume design teams dole out heaping portions of holiday cheer to craft this vibrant world. The festive tree ornaments are decked out in costumes that perfectly resemble candy canes and nutcrackers. An Elvis Presley ornament in a red-and-green flared jumpsuit sings “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Lauren Smart is a Dallas freelance writer.
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