by Beki Pineda

CIRQUE ELOIZE – HOTEL – Directed by Emmanuel Guillaume. Produced by Denver Center for the Performing Arts Broadway at the Buell Theatre (14th and Curtis, Denver) through December 23. Tickets available at 303-893-4100 or denvercenter.org.

No doubt inspired by the success of Cirque du Soleil (which began in 1984) and their desire to make the circus arts their life, the founders of Cirque Eloize gathered talented acrobats and musical performers into a new company in 1993 in Canada and began putting together energetic performances that combined their wide-ranging talents. Today they have at least three troupes crisscrossing the globe with one preparing a new show – Serge Fiori, Suel Ensemble – in their headquarters and school in Montreal which will launch after the first of the year. CIRKOPOLIS is in hiatus right now but comes back next year. SALOON which is an acrobatic take on the American Wild West featuring dance hall girls and cowboys is currently in France but makes a stop in Colorado next spring in Beaver Creek on March 26-27. So if you liked HOTEL, you will love SALOON.

HOTEL features a talented troupe of twelve circus arts performers who seem to be able to do everything. They toss each other in the air, they lift and balance each other, they dance together with hula hoops making the most intricate patterns imaginable, they swing from ropes and slide down poles – in short, they entertain. They perform as a group using the tools of the trade and then break into two’s or three’s to continue the routine. Each has the opportunity to perform their specialty  while also displaying their versatility. Dressed in similar costumes, they become interchangeable in the various routines but still maintain their specific character and individuality during transitional skits and interaction with the audience.

Tuedon Ariri displayed incredible grace and strength with her aerial ballet using straps. Philippe Dupuis juggled and bounced at least twelve balls at a time. Jeremy Vitupier had a funny routine about a guy trapped on a slack wire, not able to get up or down. Cory Marsh stunned with his dizzying work with a cyr wheel (which, by the way, was invented by the co-founder of Cirque Eloize). And Sabrina Halde provided a musical background to the whole evening. Using an Art Deco set reminiscent of a vintage hotel that combined two long slant boards with four short ones and a long counter from which various heads and props kept popping up, they utilized every square inch of the stage. It was such a visual energetic treat for the eyes with something kinetic going on all the time while various other characters just wandered casually through the scene.

What can I say? Is it theatre? Not really. Is it entertainment? Bet your bottom dollar. It was pure pleasure and family-friendly entertainment. A lot of their stops are only for one night – but we get them until Sunday. Get your tickets early as they will be sold out on Sunday.

A WOW factor of 8.5!