Friday, December 2, 2011

Cirque Mechanics -- Steampunk Entertainment Review

We watched Boom Town last night --the current touring show of the Cirque Mechanics.  The show takes place in the wild west in the 1860's.  The storyline follows a prospector, feuding saloon owners, forbidden young love, and the antics of the town kleptomaniac (a sweet-looking girl).  Though, not advertised as such--it's true steampunk entertainment.

The program describes: "Cirque Mechanics explores the relationship between man and machine.  Inspired by early mining equipment and the spirit of adventure that brought prospectors and entrepreneurs alike out west searching for gold, Boom Town, features innovative and one of a kind mechanical apparatus that serve both as scenery and performance prop."

These telegraph poles were vertical most of the show, but during one act the ropes let the poles swing up and down for the acrobats to interact with them.  

During one scene two girls perform a trapeze act swinging from the saloon chandelier--which itself is created from an old wagon wheel. 

A trampoline act takes place on moveable metal ore-mining carts modified to frame trampolines.  Though this act was the second act after intermission, they did not take the time to set up the stage during intermission.  Instead, during a scene representing mining for gold, the cast worked to assemble the track segments and push out the carts with the audience watching.

That is steampunk-- Not covering up or hiding the mechanics of how things work, but exhibiting them and celebrating them.

There were some more fun acts as well.  A scene with a silhouette screen where the town kleptomaniac is going through her haul from the day.  A dancer en pointe dancing and hand balancing on palm-sized disks three feet above the saloon table. 

But the jewel of the show (and the steampunk entertainment)  was the trapeze act on the man-powered crane. 

A man climbed a rope ladder up to this reclined bicycle apparatus that was connected to a rope that went through a pulley at the end of the track.  The other end of the rope held the trapeze.

(Crane rehersal photo credits here.)

During the performance the man would pedal backwards along the crane track to pull the acrobat higher off the ground, and pedal forward to move himself forward towards the pulley and lower her rope down

Then there were two performers to either side holding on ropes that were strung through the crane.  One man pulled to make the whole crane spin clockwise; the other man pulled to make the crane spin the opposite direction. 


So beautiful that Jeremy admitted to forgeting to watch the graceful female acrobat performing on the suspended trapeze--he couldn't peel his eyes from the beautiful machine. 

The show was amazing.  A number of the troupe are veteran Cirque du Soleil performers.  The show had a clever storyline that pulled all the acts together, and it was very family friendly.  We took Owen (6) and Jonas (3) and they loved it.  (And to tell the truth it held their attention better than the Muppet movie we took them to the week before.) The show goes east from here.  If you have the chance I would highly recommend taking advantage of this most excellent production.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails