Alegria at the ACC in Toronto

Cirque du Soleil's Alegria wows at the ACC

Alegria, Cirque du Soleil's touring stadium show, touched down at the Air Canada Centre Wednesday night for the first of nine shows in five days.

After all the G20 shenanigans over the weekend, this was just the antidote I needed. After seeing Cirque's Ovo show last summer in the Port Lands, I kind of knew what to expect. But this show, in front of a 6,500-strong crowd, was more of a spectacle that filled the hearts and minds of a bigger audience.

Alegria at the ACC in Toronto

Perhaps most impressive was the strong and beautiful physiques of the performers, many of whom have classic gymnastics training.

A small gathering of musicians played a live soundtrack to accompany the acts from the back of the wide stage that curved up towards the back.

Alegria at the ACC in Toronto

The international cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 countries showcased awesome acrobatics, a beautiful contortion duo, a mesmerizing synchronized trapeze act and of course, the characteristic commedia dell'arte-inspired clown acts that were interspersed throughout the show.

Alegria at the ACC in Toronto

The Fire-Knife Dance number seduced me with its tribal beats and whirling patterns of fire. Once the act was complete, though, the lingering smell of gasoline was rather off-putting.

Alegria at the ACC in Toronto

Even though it was a stadium show, there was still a fair bit of performers wandering the aisles, engaging in a little audience participation.

Alegria at the ACC in Toronto

My favourite character from the show was the clown with a tuft of orange hair that reminded me of Beaker from The Muppet Show -- only livelier.

If you've never taken in a Cirque show, you're in for a treat. If you're not too busy taking in some of the great theatre at the Fringe Festival this weekend, go see this show and expect to lose yourself in another world of imagination and wonder.

Tickets for remaining shows are at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. tonight and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Photos by Roger Cullman Photography.


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