Corteo – Cirque du Soleil – 3Arena – Review
Dates: 6 – 10 July, 2022
The Canadian group Cirque Du Soleil was founded by former street performers Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix in 1984. From this humble beginning, they are now the largest contemporary circus producer in the world. Corteo is a long-standing touring production for the company that had its premiere in Montreal, Canada in 2005. It has now arrived in the 3Arena for 5 nights (and a couple of matinees) only!
Corteo is the Italian for “cortege”, a funeral procession, which should give you some idea of the unlikely premise for this show. The story that links the different performances together is that of a funeral procession, marking the death of the main character of the piece, Mauro the Dreamer Clown (Mauro Mozzani). Don’t expect anything too ghoulish though, as we see Mauro get his angel wings early on in the proceedings and he spends the rest of the time chatting to the audience or cycling through the heavens on his bike! Mauro, along with the other clowns, provides many of the comedic moments of the piece, and his ample frame is in stark contrast to the acrobats and gymnasts.
The performances include many traditional Circus acts, with acrobats from around the world literally swinging from the chandeliers! We see a trampoline act based around beds, a battle of two acrobats on a teeterboard and a variety of other dazzling stunts. In one of the most touching scenes, Anita Szented is suspended from massive helium balloons and thrown out over the heads of the audience! Simplicity itself but visually it was very impressive.
With performances of this standard, they are often quite po-faced or lacking in humour, but the clowns are the backbone of this production and we’re never far from hearing Mauro pontificating in Italian! There are some nice touches for the home audience as we’re greeted with a Céad Míle Fáilte and also witness a football match between Inter Milan and Bohemians, of sorts! The performance uses the full of the stage, and quite often while a set-piece is taking place at ground level, there are angels dangling high above in the heavens. The costumes and sets of the production are of a very high standard, and at times it feels like a renaissance painting come to life. The staging is quite complex, with a revolving set with trapdoors and other surprises. In total there are 16 short performance pieces and the level of skill involved in most is immense. It’s clearly aimed at the full family and there were audible gasps from the kids around me in the arena. It was actually nice to see some of the jugglers and others very occasionally get things wrong. This isn’t easy and there are risks involved in some of the more dangerous stunts. Put simply, this is circus at its best.