elo1If I somehow managed to have a regular column where I reviewed a variety of circus productions, it would absolutely be called “Cirque-L Jerk”. Since that’s not about to happen any time soon (although, if you’re a big shot editor for a magazine or newspaper who is reading this and has an opening for a circus writer I would be more than willing to devote my life to travelling to the world going to the circus) I have named this article that instead.

Certainly, Montreal would be just as good a place as any to start such a column. Poking around Wikipedia I found that Montreal is the home base for a bunch of what I have dubbed “fancy circuses”. Tohu (which is actually a school that puts on performances), Cavalia, Cirque Eloize and of course the big boys Cirque du Soleil all call Montreal their home.

I’m not going to waste too much time defining what a “fancy circus” is, but just in case you’re not aware of the concept I’ll give you a rundown. A “fancy circus” (or contemporary circus or cirque nouveau as its actually called) is like a regular circus but the costumes are fancier, the acts are more “artistic” and there’s generally a more cohesive underlying theme and visual aesthetic throughout the show. I could be wrong but I’m also pretty sure there’s less motorcycles in big steel balls zipping around too.

Cirkopolis is the first non-Cirque du Soleil contemporary circus that I’ve attended, so obviously is the basis of my comparison. I’ve seen a handful of Cirque du Soleil shows (Alegria, Saltimbanco, Totem and Varekai, maybe some others) so I had an idea of what I was in for. I will say that in terms of quality, it seems that Cirque du Soleil have been on the downswing in my eyes. The older shows in that list (Alegria and Saltimbanco) vastly outshone Varekai and honestly Totem was a huge letdown (I say this comparatively, Totem was still highly entertaining). So, maybe it was time for a change? ↓ Read the rest of this entry…