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Stuart King

Review: LUZIA by Cirque du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall

Luzia - Cirque du Soleil Cirque du Soleil’s latest extravaganza Luzia (billed as a waking dream of Mexico) has finally arrivedat the Royal Albert Hall considerably more than 600 days since the troupe last held a residency at the grand arena. Although their sunny return is most welcome, the production is not one of their strongest.

Complete with a Mariachi band to energise the usual array of jugglers, tumblers, wire acts and novelty circus performers during their moments in the spotlight, arguably the star of the show is an enormous waterfall which cascades onto the stage from the ceiling of the auditorium. It is deployed effectively by numerous acts during the evening, but its use also requires considerable periods to clear and dry the residual water, necessitating some barely disguised filler antics by the accident prone traveller who journeys through the various scenes of the show acting as a sort of comedy master of ceremonies and audience warm-up in the mould of Jacques Tati.

No-one can deny the skill, patience and commitment demanded of any performer working in this specific sphere of the entertainment industry, but it was surprising just how many timing errors occurred during opening night, which only goes to prove that even at this level, such live spectacles need long rehearsal schedules (not always easy in the current climate) and always contain an element of risk associated with split-second precision and balance. Perhaps that is why as audience members, we all involuntarily hold our breath when watching an acrobat perform.

There is an array of dynamic and notable turns, - especially in the second half - but the individual who elicited the most audible reaction from the audience was a young male contortionist whose innards must surely be held together with a mixture of cartilage and rubber.

Luzia runs until Sunday 27th February.