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  • Writer's pictureFrank Schierloh

REVIEW: BAZZAR (Cirque du Soleil, Oaks, PA)

High Flying Feats and Impressive Acrobatics are on Full Display in this North American Premiere.

Cirque du Soleil is a Canadian Circus that has been in operation since the 1980's. They've become the prominent global circus entertainment company, with shows in residency in various cites, and countless tours around the world. When seeing a Cirque show, there are certain things audiences can expect: fantastic technical elements, breathtaking circus acts, and an air of whimsy and absurdity. Bazzar, their show playing it's North American premiere, is all of these things, but on a smaller scale than previous Cirque incarnations. It shifts its focus from over-the-top spectacle to a wonderful showcase of acrobatics, physical feats, and whimsical clowning.

A scene from Cirqu du Soleil's 2023 Production of Bazzar.
The cast of Cirque du Soleil's 2023 Production of Bazzar. Photo by Rene Paciullo, Vanessa Bumbeers and Gustavo Menasce.

High Flying Adored

Bazzar is a feast for the eyes from the moment the show starts to its thrilling finale. The costumes are extremely detailed, and colorful, signifying each character and their role in the evening's proceedings. The set is a series of stairs, ladders and scaffolding that are ornate and impressive, and rightly leave a fair amount of stage space for the circus acts. There is a grandness about Cirque shows that can sometimes be a little overwhelming, but not with this production. While the set and costumes are fantastically executed, they are not the focus of the evening, which remains laser focused on the performers.

There is a loose story (as there are in most Cirque shows), this one focusing on a Maestro. The Maestro is the leader of this group of circus performers and his crown-hat keeps getting taken by the Floating Woman. The Floating Woman is in love with the Maestro-in-training, who is always trying to help the Maestro get his hat back. It's a very simple story, but ultimately very sweet, and leads to a very satisfying ending moment between the three characters.

A scene from Cirque du Soleil's 2023 Production of Bazzar.
The Maestro in Cirque du Soleil's 2023 Production of Bazzar. Photo by Rene Paciullo, Vanessa Bumbeers and Gustavo Menasce.

Is She Gonna Jump From There?

The show is constructed by a series of tableaux: the terminology Cirque uses to describe the individual sections of the story. Each tableaux has a few acts or moments on display. Every tableaux and act on display is extremely impressive, with some feats eliciting audible gasps from the crowd. Every audience will experience the show differently and have their own favorite routines, but a few stuck out as clear highlights during the performance I witnessed.

The first was a sequence between two performers on roller skates. The sheer speed at which they were spinning was mind-boggling. The flexibility from both skaters was impressive, and they both had an amazing level of showmanship that made it impossible to look away from them, even while the audience sat amazed (and potentially fearful due to the innate risk in many of the acts on display). The next two were more intimate moments within the show. A trapeze duo doing a charmingly romantic tête-à-tête, whiie dangling above the audience; there was such electric chemistry between the two performers, and their ability to maintain this sweetness while dangling upside down and doing stunts showed such capability as storytellers. The Maestro-in-training had a lovely juggling sequence that was wholly unique: it wasn't showy, but wildly intentional, like an intimate form of self-expression. Story-wise, he was using the juggling to impress the Floating Woman, and it was a hopelessly romantic performance that was totally engrossing to watch.

A scene from Cirque du Soleil's 2023 Production of Bazzar.
The Trapeze Duo of Cirque du Soleil's 2023 Production of Bazzar. Photo by Rene Paciullo, Vanessa Bumbeers and Gustavo Menasce.

An Exciting Night at the Big Top

Cirque du Soleil's Bazzar is a wonderful experience from start to finish. It's a perfect blend of music, acrobatics, and amazing circus abilities. Each act is equally as spectacular as the one before it, culminating in a finale that will have your eyes moving across the stage as much as the performers. If you've never seen a Cirque du Soleil show before, Bazzar is a perfect opening experience to the wonderful absurdity and magnificent splendor that is a Cirque show.

A cute cartoon with links to tickets.

Cirque du Soleil's Bazzar

is under the big top in

Oaks, PA (100 Station Ave)

until October 22, 2023.

For more information check out

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