Peacock Theatre, London
February 21, 2019
Cirque Éloize returns to London with a well-earned reputation and a new production, Hotel. It might lack the cohesion of earlier shows as the story line and the trappings of a hotel disappear along the way, but the company still offer a superb evening of entertainment.
Much of the pleasure comes from the warm personalities of the cast who range from tall to small, and glamorous to girl-next-door. They create a lively range of characters who display a wide range of skills not least the musicianship displayed in the brass band finale and the vocals along the way.
Hotels are a gift to scriptwriters. As temporary abodes, they offer a hub of activity and plenty of drama. The opening scene, in a busy lobby, sees luggage trolleys commandeered into the action, scurrying bell boys and a sofa with huge comic potential all cleverly exploited.
When two mismatched mates meet up at the door, the result is a show stopping event as they tumble and turn with arms and bodies that alternate between steel and rubber. The tricks are so well presented and so well timed that they had the audience purring from the outset.
Cirque Éloize have found their niche with performers who are highly skilled but seldom flashy; artists who tend to invite the audience in, rather than gushing out. Una Bennett is a perfect example: a charmer with a shy smile yet brilliantly innovative with her rope skills where she creates a solo moment of mystery and quiet drama.
Emma Rogers contrasts with a fresh college girl look and swinging pony-tail, climbing on hands, shoulders or wherever with nonchalance ease. Poster girl, Tuedon Ariri, reigns supreme with aerial work of balletic beauty and a warm personality.
The men are less easily identifiable, but Philippe Dupuis’ juggling skills are outstanding, handled with understated cool and easy grace. Even when the odd ball went AWOL it was swept back into the fold in a second. Slack rope, tumbling and clowning were handled deftly by a number of the men each bringing an individual personality to their virtuosity.
With the ensemble hula hoop and song number, the show moves into a more regular circus mould. The sound balance was not in favour of singer, Sabrina Halde, though, and we had to wait until the final number where it was possible to really hear and enjoy her voice to the full. After an exciting dare-devil finale on the Chinese pole the cast impressed with their versatility playing on brass wind, thumping a suitcase rythmically or joining in the vocals for a lively round off.
Hotel by Cirque Éloize continues at London’s Peacock Theatre to March 9. Visit www.sadlerswells.com for details and tickets.