As you step into the Royal Albert Hall, you set foot on the island of Amaluna, surrounded by tall grass and the sounds of waves and birds. Before the performance is even set to start, Cirque du Soleil breaks the fourth wall by placing dancers among the audience. A playful lizard, a woman carrying flowers, another one with an archery bow and another playing the drum; all start interacting with the audience talking gibberish and laughing.
If you have seen a Cirque du Soleil perform before, you probably have high expectations. First of all, you expect the unexpected. Then you expect a mix of physical performance, poetry, music, beauty and humour. Amaluna fails to bring together all the elements, but leaves you stunned nevertheless.
The story, based on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, begins with the celebration of Miranda’s coming of age on the island of Amaluna. Her little red play ball flies away, and with it her youthful purity.
The show gets off to a bad start with choreographies so simple they could have been done by children beginning with an all too classic unicycle performance, which looks like something you would be watching on the streets.
Although the rock n’ roll accompanying the entire show goes well with the fire and water on stage, Cirque du Soleil has proven it has talented singers with gifted voices in shows like Allegria, so why not make better use of them?
In between acts, the actors perform a comical play in the audience to cleverly distract attention from the scene while the decor changes. It’s only 30 minutes into the show that you finally see what you came for: the unexpected and the frightening. A performer hanging onto a hoop (unattached) beautifully descends into a water bowl.
In the meantime, a boat full of men gets washed up on the shore of Amaluna creating chaos on the island. Miranda then meets Romeo. But the best is yet to come. Shortly after the first meeting comes that moment that makes it all worth it. A breath-taking act, where a woman dressed in gold cleverly balances pieces of wood using her feet to pick them and place them one on top of the other before placing them on the top of her head. The audience goes silent and all you can hear is the heavy breathing of the performer. A magical moment that will make you sit on the edge of your seat and make your heart race.