By Tania Fisher . . .
“Cirque du Soleil ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” presents the basic story line of a father’s tween-age daughter, Isabella, played by Alicia Beaudoin, drifting away from him, seemingly losing her to modern technology and high-tech gizmos, and his wish for her to recapture the true spirit of Christmas. With voice-over narration of selected sections of the classic poem The Night Before Christmas (aka A Visit from St. Nicholas) by Clement Clarke Moore, circa 1837, this through-line is a constant presence and its simplicity is the heartwarming backdrop to the wondrous spectacle that only Cirque du Soleil know how to provide.
After nearly two years of pandemic-enforced hiatus, the emotional reunion of artists from all over the world came back to the stage with their very unique brand of circus performances that provide the audience with a positive and meaningful experience.
Composed of extraordinarily talented fully-rounded artists with mind-blowing agility and balance, who also know how to dance, juggle, suspend and swing from ropes, and leap through hoops positioned at least 10 feet in the air while dressed as hybrids of a jockey and a reindeer, it’s clear why Cirque du Soleil has earned its reputation as the world’s number one entertainment creation.
With every second as memorable as the last, there were also nail-biting, mesmerizing and elegant acts such as Karyna Konchakivska and Suren Bozyan floating and dancing from aerial straps and sweeping up the “snow” from the stage floor and whirling it around them to create a mystical scene.
Every possible art form is represented in this show, along with every genre of music; not just the popular Christmas Carols that were amped up to new levels of funk. Every circus skill you can imagine is also exhibited in jaw-dropping, sometimes death defying moments. If you can name it, they had it. The sights and sounds and action were all culminated into dazzling perfection to make this an utterly illustrious and succulent feast for all your senses.
Energetic and playful “elves” who hop and jump over each other as well as slide across tables in dare-devil stun-like action have you smiling and gasping in the same breath.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is so engaging and riveting that even small children kept their attention span for the entire length of the show. That’s a rare feat – just like Danila Vieira Bim, the performer tied from her hair with a rope swinging and flying about the stage was.
There were actual characters as part of the story-line, as well as representational beings, that through their enthralling acts, proved to be rich extras that helped move the story along, in an albeit, fanciful and magical way. In one such moment, a starlet played by Masha Terentieva, admirably maneuvers a hotel valet cart hanging from the rafters to create a trapeze act in order to poignantly demonstrate the effect of the protagonist, Isabella’s, ungratefulness.
In typical Cirque du Soleil fashion there was plenty to see swinging from above, off to the sides, and along the audience aisles. No possibility of a creative stone was left unturned.
With warning of a spoiler alert – Santa does make an appearance, and our protagonist does eventually learn to understand the true spirit of Christmas, even if it did take the likes of Holler Zavatta Bogino and Kimberly Zavatta Bogino roller-skating their way in 70s disco style fashion atop a circular spinning miniature roller-skating rink.
It was at once an entertaining spectacle of visual and audio magical pleasure, with stupendous achievements of humans carrying out un-human accomplishments, and a thoroughly joyous experience.
A show that is literally for all ages. This should be at the top of your Christmas wish list. If you miss this one, then you’ve really missed out.
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden thru December 27. https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/twas-the-night-before
Photos: Lead Photo: Kyle Flubacker