Cirque de Solieil’s ‘Corteo’ Brings a New Kind of Circus to Town!

–By Nita Balani

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Corteo’ opened at The Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa for a limited engagement of six shows until Sunday June 24 and will be doing the Canadian tour with stops in Toronto (December), Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Vancouver, amongst other cities.

Thought to be inspired by the work ‘The Portrait of an Artist as a Clown (National Gallery of Canada)’, the production has enthralled 8 million people worldwide since its debut in 2005 and is now seen in a more contemporary version. It brings the circus world of tumblers, acrobats, jugglers, celestial creatures, and many more wondrous acts to life. Corteo, which means a joyous procession, is a festive parade by a clown, Mauro, who has passed on and is a celebration of his life and the people he left behind. The sets are simple yet spectacular to portray the celestial world and the one we live in as Mauro pictures his life and funeral taking place through various enthralling acts. The show depicts quiet, graceful angels taking care of Mauro and is juxtaposed with the humorous buffoonery of his friends and circus colleagues.

The spectacle is divided into several acts each of which display a different type of art or circus skill. It opens with the mastery of the acrobats on swinging chandeliers which is breathtakingly beautiful and unique. The narrative continues depicting Mauro’s childhood on bouncing beds as children mischievously jump on them until they are called to sleep. Several gymnastic acts follow on a Cyr wheel, teeterboard, trapeze, acrobatic ladder and many more including an awesome hula hoop performance where the artiste uses all her limbs. The grace and beauty of many acrobats is highlighted against the strength of the swinging acrobats as they fly from one side to the other to be caught by their partners. All this is intercalated with lots of humour as well in the form of a hilarious golf game and a zany Romeo and Juliet ‘teatro intimo’ act.

The show goes on with a plethora of acts including a mind boggling juggling act portraying a childhood game played mostly in Latin American countries called ‘diabolo’, which is an hourglass shaped cup on a string. The performer does all kinds of tricks without it ever falling off the string.

The mystical music of Tibetan bowls also makes an entrance along with the mastery of a whistler who could whistle even classical music!

The helium dance act, with a little lady bouncing around the audience, supported by huge helium balloons and asking the spectators to propel her along with both their hands, was the piece de resistance!

This endearing family show Corteo appeals to the child inside us with the circus theme, but certainly has a deeper meaning of the circle of life making us reflect back on our lives from childhood. As Mauro says, as he is riding a bicycle in the sky, “riding a bicycle is like riding through life; you may get tired but you cannot stop.”

Corteo is a spectacular show which is appealing to kids as well as adults and like all Cirque du Soleil shows it never fails to impress and bedazzle. A must-see show perfect for family entertainment on the first summer weekend!


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