Friday, June 17, 2011

Coming Attraction: Cirque du Soleil's 'Iris'

(Photo credit: Mark Dulong © 2011 Cirque du Soleil)

Cirque du Soleil has landed in Hollywood, and its new resident production, "Iris," is starting with an appropriately cinematic bang.

The new show, which begins previews July 21 and officially opens Sept. 25 at its permanent home the Kodak Theatre, is a tribute to film -- more specifically, "a poetic phantasmagoria inspired by the world of cinema," according to press notes.

Checking out a sneak peek of the upcoming show yesterday at the Kodak, I had a third-row seat to the jaw-dropping action.

As cinematically clad characters -- a girl with pin curls donning a moving daedalum/zoetrope as a skirt (right) -- drifted on and off stage, twin aerialists flew over the audience in an airborne dance that had me gasping in both fear and amazement.

Next came a tribute to gangster films, as acrobatic mobsters leaped from one rooftop to the other in an effort to elude the law -- and other gangsters (see above photo). Making clever use of trampolines, the dancers appeared to defy gravity -- and certain death -- in this cleverly choreographed number.

Written and directed by Phillipe Decoufle with music composed by Danny Elfman, "Iris" tells the story of Buster and Scarlett, who "find themselves plunged into the joyful chaos of a film set."

Inspired to create a film-based show in Los Angeles after a 2002 Cirque du Soleil performance at the Academy Awards, Cirque president Daniel Lamarre said at the press preview that he made the decision after that performance received a standing ovation from a theatre filled with film notables.

From what I saw yesterday, Lamarre made the right move.

Cirque du Soleil's "Iris"

Kodak Theatre
6801 Hollywood Blvd. #180
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tickets: $43-$133 (To purchase, click here, or call 1-877-943-IRIS.)

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