Review: iD (Cirque Eloize)

Cirque Eloize puts on a fun-filled acrobatic display in iD currently playing at Toronto’s Sony Centre

Upon leaving iD at the Sony Center this evening, I ran into an acquaintance who had also just emerged. “What’d you think?” she asked. On the spot, I replied: “Very pretty, lots of fun, and zero cultural appropriation – my favorite kind of circus.” Upon a little more reflection, I find I can comfortably stand by my off-the-cuff assessment.

iD, the newest production from Cirque Eloize, is an “urban” styled performance designed to feature modern acrobatics like breakdance, trampoline, double dutch jumprope and stunt bike alongside more classic expressions of the form like silks and hand-to-hand tumbling.

This performance also included some of the flashy but esoteric skills, like pole acrobatics and Cyr wheel (which I learned while writing this was invented by Eloize cofounder Daniel Cyr), both of which were exceptional to watch live. A plot of sorts, something with a whiff of West Side Story, has been applied to the experience for some reason – this is not my favorite choice for these kinds of shows, but in this case it didn’t hinder the fun at all.

A comment I heard more than once after the show was “Well, it’s no Cirque du Soleil, but…” and on the one hand, that’s true. It’s a smaller show in terms of cast, space, marketing and all the rest. But ultimately, Eloize isn’t trying to be Cirque du Soleil any more than it’s trying to be Barnum and Bailey; don’t let the word Cirque mislead you. Eloize has its own style and flavor, a bright and surprising verve that’s more like the best buskers ever meet a rock opera than anything else. Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun, making incredibly difficult tricks look easy, loping around the stage with a “hey, let’s go again” ease.

A few words must be said about the projections for this show, which might indeed be my favorite ever. A collaboration between Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence, the projected illustrations are surprising and delightful, with a Kevin Adams feel. Used on a completely plain, unfinished background/stunt set – which of course couldn’t really be painted what with the bicycles hopping around on it all evening – and projected at an unimaginably high light output number, I really enjoyed how much cleverness was on display in the projection.

Ultimately, iD is fun. It isn’t the pinnacle of high art; it does not have any subtext that I am able to discern. It’s a good time, nice to look at, charming and frolicsome. The music is interesting and appealing, the projections are gorgeous, and there are some ridiculously strong and very bendy people up there doing incredibly cool stunts. Some people will do better at the opera. As for me, I liked this a lot.

Details

– iD is playing at The Sony Centre for The Arts, (1 Front Street) until November 3, 2012.
– Performances are 2 Nov at 7:30pm, and 3 Nov at 2pm and 7:30pm.
– Tickets range in price from $52 to $89
– Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (416) 368-6161