Le Grand Cirque

The Civic – THE EDGE®, Auckland

31/01/2009 - 14/02/2009

Production Details

Le Grand Cirque

Seen by millions of people around the world, Le Grand Cirque is a jaw-dropping visual feast of breathtaking acrobatics, spellbinding contortionists, soaring aerial performers and white-knuckle stunts. With an international company of over 35 world champion acrobats and feature acts from Brazil, Canada, Russia, Mongolia, Europe and China, the performers have been hand picked from around the globe for their unbelievable abilities and precision skill. The result is a fastpaced, heart-pounding spectacle that will astound you and keep you at the edge of your seats!

Having recently broken all box office records in the history of the Sydney Opera House, Le Grand Cirque will visit Auckland for the very first time as part of an extensive international tour.

This amazing season opens at The Civic, The Edge on January 31. DON’T MISS OUT!

This spectacular production features solo and group trapeze, contortionists, the magical cloud swing, the Strong Men, the incredible Swan Lake ballerina, Bungees, Bikes, Human Towers, Plate Spinners, Dancers and so much more packed into a 2 hour extravaganza!

Extravagant, amazing and mesmerising, Le Grand Cirque is a spectacular experience the family will never forget. Seasons always sell out fast, so don’t miss out – it will simply take your breath away!
Le Grand Cirque
at The Civic, The Edge
31 January to 14 February 2009
Tickets on sale @ The Edge 0800 289 842

A-maaazing – but not exactly an existential circus feast

Review by Joanna Hunkin 02nd Feb 2009

The circus came to town this weekend but it may not be the one you thought it was. Many people have confused Le Grand Cirque – a circus comprised mainly of Asian acrobats, produced by an Englishman – with the French Canadian outfit Cirque du Soleil, which is also headed to town this year. The name may bear a certain similarity, as does the ringmaster clown who stumbles out between acts pulling audience members on to the Civic Theatre stage, but that’s about as close as the two productions get.

Presenting up to three shows a day, at close to two hours each, Le Grand Cirque doesn’t have time for intricate aesthetics or the profundities of an existential theme. Instead, it delivers a series of short, unrelated acts – largely based on traditional Chinese acrobatics – that are easy to digest and visually engaging, if perhaps not as polished as other touring troupes. [More


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Circus ‘highlights’ show lacks a theatrical spine

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 02nd Feb 2009

It comes as no surprise to me that the producers of Le Grand Cirque, Spirit Productions, specialise in tribute shows: Spirit of Broadway; Dancing Queen; Frank, Dean and Sammy – to name a few.

While there is no denying Le Grand Cirque delivers on its promise of superb acts of contortion, acrobatic feats, and gravity-defying displays of balance and strength, I’m left with the ultimate feeling that the show is less a stamp of a new identity and more a well marketed package, that evokes reference to similar circus shows that have a theatrical backbone.

Certainly, it was a wise and timely move to capitalize on the international success of Cirque du Soleil and recent surge in popularity of burlesque, such as La Clique. But whereas these shows tell a story or create a mood or alter our perceptions through performance, Le Grand Cirque is more a series of impressive circus acts, loosely strung together like a highlights package or tribute show.

That said, the lack of story-telling and theatrical subtleties is replaced by an abundance of high-energy acts, by an incredibly strong, fit, dynamic touring troupe of contortionists and acrobats. Creative Producer Simon Painter, who also cast the acrobatic and specialist acts, has recruited an impressive ensemble from around the globe.

Every section of the show (with the exception perhaps of the somewhat ‘flat’ finale which was little more than a series of bows with a confetti canon and glitter drop thrown in) is incredible to watch. My personal highlights included the opening Chinese Pole Climbing; the timing of the tumblers through a series of silver rings; and the counter-balance and grace of the final male duo.

Vignettes of mischief from our cocky yet charismatic ‘ring-master’, whose bag of tricks include audience interaction, a fat suit and a huge yellow balloon, provide entertaining light relief between sections. Though I’m not quite sure why Director Alan Harding weaved our circus-host into some of the actual acts, as he looked out of place and redundant.

The pre-recorded musical arrangements by Evan Jolly and David Fitzgerald, are mostly fast and loud, with a driving beat put behind classics such as Greig’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, and the ubiquitous Bolero by Ravel.

Transitions between acts appeared to have added assistance from local dancers. But given their company and overall context, the locals’ skill, discipline and grace, was noticeably not always up to scratch, and at times, their presence felt superfluous.

Thankfully, Pete Kramer’s tidy and high-pace lighting design, which fully maximises moving light technology to great effect, keeps the focus on the talented troupe at all times.

While the costumes were colourful, at times they bordered on garish rather than the bold effect that was perhaps the intention of Specialist Costume Designers "Saff and Silky". It was a relief to occasionally see the cast dressed in plain white cotton or flesh tones.

With ticket prices more accessible than some international extravaganzas, Le Grand Cirque might just be the right circus showcase to take the family to. It’s a clean, crisp, guaranteed two solid hours of impressive acrobatics and entertainment.


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