Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: cirque du soleil

After months of anticipation, I finally went to see Cirque du Soleil’s newest production
“Banana Shpeel” this evening. It’s currently playing at the historic Chicago Theater.
It’s a new twist on vaudeville, and a new direction from the folks at Cirque du Soleil.


Receiving mixed reviews, the “smaller” show fits the smaller venue. It is the first time that
Cirque du Soleil has launched a show in a pre-existing theater. Typically they will bring their
big blue & yellow tent, or build themselves a full-blown, over-the-top theater in Las Vegas.
This time, they have sized down the production for the smaller, more intimate theater space.

Going in, I knew that I should not expect the grand, glorious, over-the-top production
that I love so much. I knew that it was going to be a “new twist” and I was open for anything.
We had even gone to the pre-production lecture a couple weeks ago to learn more
about the how and the creative process & evolution of the show.

The show starts out a little rough with a “sketchy” audition segment… and I was concerned.
But once the show actually gets started, and the dancers kick it into full gear, the “real show”
gets started. For me, the “production numbers” with all the dancers and the acrobatic acts
were the best part. I would consider cutting back on some of the “clown” acts. There are
six clowns who take up a LOT of stage time – and do a lot of yelling at each other. It was a
little too much. Although I did really enjoy Dave’s tenth anniversary with a audience member
scene towards the end of the show… remember?… it was Fall.






All in all, it was a great night. Very enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong…
it’s no evening under Le Grand Chapiteau when they come with a full show.

But it was a wonderful night in the theater. Being the world premiere of “Banana Shpeel,”
Chicago has been treated to a “new twist” from Cirque du Soleil. I think that the show will
continue to evolve and reinvent itself as it plays here in Chicago, and then moves on to
New York City. Hopefully they will get all the kinks worked out… limit the clowns
and give more time to the dancers & Acrobats!!! The best act of the night was definitely
a simple act where a gymnast did some incredible, gravity-defying balancing & contortion
acts on a single pole. A lot of strippers in Vegas could learn a trick or two from this guy!!!


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