The fantastic world of Saltimbanco comes to Auckland
Cirque du Soleil
August 25 – September 4.
Last night the Vector Arena erupted in a kaleidoscope of colour and a host of spectacular performances as Saltimbanco, the fifth of the Cirque du Soleil shows to come to Auckland opened for the first time.
The international cast of 51 performers and musicians who come from more than 20 different countries have just finished a five month tour of Australia but they were in top form with boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Saltimbanco, from the Italian “saltare in banco” means to jump on a bench is an amazing display of ability and agility.
Set inside an imaginary realm of colourful inhabitants, Saltimbanco features breathtaking acrobatics and unbelievable athleticism during solo spectacles and epic ensembles.
Decidedly baroque in its visual vocabulary, the show’s eclectic cast of characters draws spectators into a fanciful, dreamlike world.
Technical expertise and extravagant design are woven together with fabulous costumes, amazing lighting, humour, and enchanting live music.
Many of he characters in Saltimbanco are like three dimensional cartoon characters; they have their own way of communication with the elaborate body language of the mime artist and an assortment of noises half way between baby talk and religious zealots speaking in tongues.
They presented a rainbow world of colours with characters that are a combination of Dr Seuss, Teletubbies and Smurfs while the main performances include human sculptures, dancers, trapeze artists, bike acrobatics, a mime and a juggler.
One of the early dramatic highlights is the Chinese Pole act where a dozen acrobats race up and down four huge poles with the agility of monkeys, leaping between them, defying the laws of gravity by hanging horizontally and occasionally free falling to within millimeters of the floor.
This is fantastic shock and awe performing at its best.
There are a few more of these spectacular displays throughout the evening culminating in the amazing trapeze duo of Julia and Gabrielle Janke. They perform an elaborate routine on one trapeze with impeccably controlled, intertwined movements which are both elegant and risky – they must be as the crew has laid out a safety mat.
Then just as their routine winds down – the crew take the safety mat away – the duo explode with a series of death defying routines which sees them saving each other with split second timing keep the audience on the edges of their seats and gasping in disbelief..
Another of the dramatic acts is Boleadoras where Betty La Commare and Eduardo Rodriguez provide a fast paced flamenco style dance routine. It is however accompanied by their wielding a couple of long poi like instruments with small wooden bulbs at the end. They spin these about with astonishing speed, the clatter of the balls resembling the sound of castanets as the two dancers embark on a display worthy of a Whirling Dervish.
And of course there is the clown. Martin Pons though is more than mere clown. He is a consummate mime artist, a wordless stand up comedian, a guide into fanstatic worlds and a weaver of eccentric stories. He even manages to cajole one of the audience members into a disastrous game of baseball and another into a High Noon style showdown with guns (imaginary) blazing.
This is a sho packed with colour, wit, drama and surprise which will delight the entire family, setting a new bench mark in entertainment.