Review of Dralion: Cirque du Soleil at Dublin's O2
Cirque du Soleil celebrated its 30th anniversary with this early show from its extensive back catalogue.
A dralion may sound like something from Doctor Who, hell-bent on world domination, but for the globally renowned circus company it's a cross between the dragon, symbolising the tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts, and the lion, representing the company's multi-disciplinary approach.
The dralion is an apt symbol as each performer is a versatile fusion of different skills. Acrobats are as much dancers as anything else, the clowns are humourous athletes, while the juggler is as fluid and lithe as any of the dancers.
Everything flows together wonderfully, one act blending into another while retaining its own identity.
In this vivid show there are some outstanding acts. The trampolinists are quite incredible, three males and three females whose antics make Spiderman look a little sluggish and cumbersome.
They fly up to the roof of the great temple that dominates the set with one leap from their trampolines and fall back down head first only to fly up again. It's an incredible display of grace, skill and humour.
The hand-balancing of Dilinuer Kadier is equally breathtaking. Elegant as a ballet-dancer and as surprising as a contortionist, she turns her body round supported only by her palm atop the thinnest of supports. Far more than simple balancing, it's a kind of slow, modern dance semaphore, spreading disbelief as she rotates her body at impossible angles.
Marie-Ève Bisson dazzles at a higher speed with the aerial hoop, flowing around it, high above the stage, with the captivating fluidity of a snake wrapping itself around its victim's neck. She ingests and regurgitates the thing in a series of perfectly executed moves.
Another traditional circus favourite, the human pyramid, gets taken several steps further when 13 performers pile on each other's shoulders and do a spot of skipping. A spot, and then they repeat it at greater length.
No circus is complete without clowns and three clowns plus a spectator plucked from the audience, who gradually learns his trade, are integral to the show.
They pop up continually between the main acts, sometimes overlapping with them, parodying the performers and indulging in their own mildly bizarre horseplay.
The live music, lead by Stephen Poulin, charges the whole colourful, seductively costumed show with a multiplicity of exciting rhythms in a brilliant fusion of different styles.