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#BGREVIEWER: Cirque Dreams Holidaze Brings the holiday spirit to London

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A larger than life festive winter wonderland greeted patrons at Budweiser Gardens on Monday, December 5th for the Cirque Dreams Holidaze tour. The crescent moon shone brightly as the RBC Theatre stage was decked out in a young child’s dream of huge presents,  giant candy canes and nutcrackers. I attended the show with my husband and 3 children ranging in age from 7-14.  The performers were warming up when we arrived and knew that the show was going to be a good one based on the calibre of singing that could be heard throughout the halls.

The show opened with the Angel and Queen of Ice in their bejeweled garb. The Queen’s icy costume reminded my 14 yr-old daughter of the Queen in the Narnia series.  During the intro she said she was getting some serious Candyland game vibes with a mix of Alice in Wonderland too.

Next came the puppeteer with a marionette.  Gasps of sheer amazement could be heard throughout the building while watching the incredible feats of flexibility the puppet  performer executed.  These gasps would be echoed throughout the night as the audience was treated to over 20 acts demonstrating marvelous displays of strength, agility, and flexibility.

The show’s program boasts using 300 costumes and they certainly were not kidding.  The outfits donned by the performers were nothing shy of magical.  Each costume was themed to the act and was playful and eye-catching with just the right amount of whimsy. Magic was performed right after the intermission as the main dancers experienced numerous costume changes in front of the audience’s eyes--how one can briefly stand in a cloth tube and in a few seconds suddenly appear in another outfit is boggling to the mind!  

Each act was memorable in its own way.  The music, costuming and mammoth props worked in harmony creating a thematic experience which won’t soon be forgotten. One such portion of the show featured the snow princesses.  These princesses were indeed incredibly flexible and they contorted their body in ways I cannot describe.  As they performed, the wintery song accompanying their act crooned about icicles stretching down. My daughter commented that she felt she had gotten a stretch just from watching them!

The Winter Wonderland act was both an audience and family favourite of ours. Where else can you sit and be entertained by dancing and skipping reindeer who perform tricks with their ropes?  We also were rocked by the Elvis who twirled objects while Jingle Bell Rock blared from the jukebox, the juggler who stacked goblets on his head and a penguin who balanced on a stack of roly-poly objects.

A Cirque show would not be complete without including aerialists and this show did not fall short on talent.  Watching the aerial artists fly high above the stage while appearing to almost bend in half at times elicited strong reactions from the audience. Each maneuver brought forth applause and grimaces too. The aerial finale set to ‘O Holy Night’ was a graceful and angelic performance with aerialists using flowing white ribbon-like material to lift themselves up to the sky.  The powerful combination of strength and singing voices fit for Broadway brought the house down.

There are too many acts to specifically mention in this review. The entire show was a feast for the senses.  Cirque Dreams Holidaze certainly did not disappoint the patrons. The next time a Cirque show comes to Budweiser Gardens as part of their Broadway Series, run don’t walk to the box office and pick up a ticket to the show. You won’t regret it!

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