Dhe sun circus is back. After the bankruptcy in June 2020 caused by the corona pandemic, which cost 3500 employees their jobs and meant the end of many shows, the Canadian Cirque du Soleil has regained its footing and is touring the world with several productions like in the old days. Now he has landed in Frankfurt with “Crystal”, where he is showing this show in the Festhalle until Sunday.
The name Crystal – crystal – says it all. Because that’s not just the name of the leading actress, a girl who is different from the others, an introverted outsider who doesn’t feel like she belongs and would rather live in a book. The whole show is crystal, because snow and ice crystals literally form the basis of this unusual production, namely an ice surface on which the protagonists dance, whiz, whirl and do magic in a way that has never been seen before in an ice show.
Of course, there is Holiday on Ice, the indestructible classic that has been delighting audiences with its ice dance stars for almost 80 years, first in America and then all over the world. But there everything focuses on the art of ice skating, while “Crystal” combines ice dancing with classical artistry. Nothing like this has ever existed in this form. With this new genre, Cirque du Soleil hasn’t slipped up and fallen on its backside, rather it has taken ice art to a new level, as can now be seen in Frankfurt.
Sister in the spirit of famous Alice in Wonderland
The key change from previous Cirque du Soleil productions is the high tempo enabled by the performers gliding across the ice. Of course, this has nothing to do with pure sport, in “Crystal” the protagonists dance so effortlessly and elegantly across the stage on their runners, as if that were their natural form of movement. Even the artists, the lightning-fast juggler Agustin Bells Encarnacion, the trapeze queen Emma Stones or the duo Darren Trull and Hjordis Lee move surprisingly confidently on the ice, although their actual profession is artistry.
The story of the girl Crystal is similar to that of her sister in spirit, the famous Alice, who wakes up in Wonderland. In Crystal, this wonderland is the depths of a lake into which she falls after the ice sheet beneath her cracks and shatters. Because the ice stage in the Festhalle cannot break open and the actress cannot sink into the wet depths, Cirque du Soleil not only works here with sophisticated lighting effects that credibly imagine the change from top to bottom.
In her underwater wonderland, Crystal not only finds herself, she meets several alter egos who open her senses to the different sides of her personality. As a viewer, you sometimes have no idea who the actual Crystal, played by professional ice dancer Hjordis Lee, is and who is a double, because they all have long reddish hair and wear almost the same clothes.
“Crystal” also a musical pleasure
On her way through her wonderland, the protagonist discovers new places like the big city, a ballroom or a court. One of the most beautiful scenes takes place in a surreal office, where the secretaries and clerks hack rhythmically on their typewriters. This is not only a visual, but also a musical pleasure. How the music fits perfectly with the individual scenes, sometimes performed via playback, sometimes by live musicians who play in klezmer style.
As is almost always the case with Cirque du Soleil, the heaviest numbers are presented as light as a feather, one scene flows harmoniously into the next, and even the supporting roles are cast with first-class talent. The comedy isn’t neglected either. The great clown Nate Cooper falls over on stage with his bicycle ice cream truck and looks melancholy at the presents. Merely the spoken-in text, which reports on Crystal’s journey to herself, seems terribly cheesy in some places. But the sun circus is a circus and not spoken theater.
The Crystal Show by Cirque du Soleil can be seen in the Frankfurt Festhalle until Sunday. Performances on Friday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., on Saturday at 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.