Peacock Theatre, London
September 21, 2016
The Canadian contemporary circus crew Cirque Éloize are back in the West End with iD, its show filled with daring stunts and heaps of theatricality. The company prides itself on being a thrilling modern circus show which is both daredevil and beautiful, in a glorious fusion of contortion with rollerblading, juggling and sheer glass panels, and it doesn’t stop there. The result is a fully-rounded and hugely appealing production jammed with circus, acrobatics, street dance, hip hop and much more.
iD transports audiences into a vibrant urban streetscape that is both a jungle and valued territory. Projections and trapdoors fill every design void as the set shifts throughout. There is a definite nod to gang culture in the one-upmanship demonstrated from the highest to lowest ranks and the constant bid for victory. These contests are illustrated by intense and complex skipping sequences and the scaling of an immense Chinese pole. The infectious energy of the cast is clear, matched by their immense physical feats and strength.
The company specialises in fusing circus arts with music, theatre and dance. iD is no exception. It’s a dazzling display and family-friendly to boot. If anything, its welcome return sees a show even slicker than before. Their enthusiasm is infectious. At times they seem to entertaining themselves as well as the audience.
The cast divide themselves amongst the disciplines, with some crossing between two or more. The city setting enhances this lack of specific identity, although it can also be argued it establishes identity in becoming so sure of your ability. Against the futuristic city scape and 3-D projections, chance encounters and juxtaposition are the name of the game. Whether it’s in the hand-to-hand, an incredible balance act, or contortion or break dancing, iD is both serene and breathtaking, creative and challenging, artistic and hugely effective. The huge trampoline stunt wall is always a crowd pleasing finale, full of flipping and strength intertwined with incredible trust, a great way to end what is Cirque Éloize’s most popular show.