Sunday, 10 August 2014


by Cirque du Soleil

Almost quarter of a century ago, still in Moscow, we (Tamara, my brother and I) went to see Shlomo Carlebach supported by Jerry Katz and his band. It was a great show. An extra entertainment was provided by an old guy who happened to sit just behind us. Throughout the first part of the concert he was complaining, addressing not only his wife but also his surroundings, about the support band. Evidently the sound was too loud and modern for his liking. My favourite of his comments was: “Что вы им хлопаете? Чем больше мы будем хлопать, тем дольше они будут играть.” (“Why are you applauding them? The more we clap, the longer they will play.”)

Shlomo Carlebach was playing the second half. There was no running commentary, so I turned around to check if the oldster finally left the building. No he didn’t. By the time the show ended, he had recovered his faculty of speech.

“Я не знаю, что там было 30 лет назад, но сейчас это не то...”
(“I don’t know what it was 30 years ago, but now it’s not the same...”)
Now the last thing I want to sound like is that grumpy old-timer. Yet I found myself uttering his very words after watching Dralion. This is the first show of Cirque du Soleil I’ve ever been to. Perhaps I set my expectations too high. If it was, say, Las Palmas Community Circus, I’d probably think it was one hell of the show. But then they wouldn’t be charging €36 for the cheapest seat.

The show was in the brand new Gran Canaria Arena, an impressive venue for watching sports but hardly a substitute for a big top. It could be nice if any of the relevant websites bothered to mention how to get there. We took the line 91 city bus, Teatro—Tamaraceite, to Pintor Felo Monzón, 22 (the corresponding stop on the way back is called Pintor Felo Monzón, 17). Allow about ten minutes to walk to the arena from that stop.

The choreography was good. The costumes were stunning. The clowns were pretty annoying, as per usual. The circus proper was a mixed bag. For example, the juggler was performing kind of breakdance, which I rather liked, but the juggling itself was nothing to write home about, and he managed to drop the balls a few times. Of four gods/goddesses, I found Azala (Air) and Océane (Water) to be completely useless. Gaya (Earth) was the best. The aerial silk act (pictured on all posters of Dralion around the town) was conspicuous by its absence. The three best acts were:

  1. Trampoline, with the acrobats jumping (and running) on and off the wall
  2. Hoop diving (also featuring Gaya’s African dance)
  3. Skipping rope guys
The music was not bad but at times it sounded suspiciously like a soundtrack. Since the band was hidden behind the wall, I can’t tell how much time they were actually playing. As for singing... the show could have been way better without it.

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