Cirque Le Masque, a world-toured, non-animal circus gave an amazing performance on opening night at Emerson College’s Cutler Majestic Theatre, in Boston’s Theatre District. The 90 minute show ended with a standing ovation.

Carnivale tells a story about a girl, Moira, (performed by Cara Maher) who is tired of the discordant noise from her home in a big city. She leaves the city and jaunts to Rio de Janeiro, where she eventually joins the circus. Along the way, Moira makes friends with local carnival performers in Central and South America.

Through this exploration we get to see such stunning acts as dual trapeze and silk acts (by World Champion twins Serenity Smith Forchion and Elsie Smith), aerial acrobatics, dueling contortionists, a massive “German Wheel” (by former Cirque du Soleil star Andrei Roublev), all accompanied by the Cirque le Masque dancers.

Between aerial stunts and psychedelic costumes, this show left me enchanted. The “Silk Act” particularly left us on the edge of our seats. People cried out in disbelief when one of the acrobats leaped into the air from one of the silk ropes and gracefully caught herself, roughly ten feet from the ground.

This French-inspired show expresses a liveliness that will surprise you over and over again.

If you don’t like audience interaction this show will definitely change your mind. There are two side characters. One acts almost as a ring master and looks like something not from this planet — rounded belly and various patterns and colors all over his body. The other is an eccentric older man. In between acts, these charming but mischievous characters that will have you in stitches.

Cirque le Masque’s Carnivale is a stunning performance, filled with laughter, intrigue and amazement.

The choreography had traces of bachata and salsa footwork. The two male dancers performing one of the silk acts in the second half of the show were reminiscent of capoeira (Brazilian “kick boxing”), as their wardrobe consisted of loose, white pants and their spirited choreography involved fast flips and impressive leg extension.

I would have liked to see more of two things: more emphasis on the dancing and more of the actual dancing, especially at the end and especially from the main character.

Moira suddenly shows up as a show girl in Rio, but there’s little character development before that. The dancing could have been rehearsed more, as small things like piques, other footwork and body isolation were sometimes not in sync or as accentuated as they could have been. I assume that this is probably because more of the emphasis at rehearsal was put on the difficult stunts than the dancing.

The music could have had more Latino influence in its beat, since the story takes place in South America — but this is also a French-inspired show…

About The Author

Gina Fraumeni is a Blast Magazine staff writer and arts critic. She also appeared on the September 2007 cover of the magazine.

5 Responses

  1. b.juana

    Sounds amazing! I’ve seen a silk act at a Dresden Dolls concert and it constantly kept things exciting. Would love to hear of more of these events when they’re close by.


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