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Thursday, February 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Cirque Dreams Holidaze’ offers holiday awe, spectacle and cheer

UPDATED: Sun., Dec. 1, 2019

“Cirque Dreams Holidaze” brought holiday cheer to First Interstate Center for the Arts on Friday night, and the spectacle – part circus and part Broadway musical – also offered a big dose of jaw-dropping circus acts, joyful musical productions and colorful, sparkling costumes.

Broadway director Neil Goldberg’s Cirque Dreams, not to be confused with Guy LaLiberte’s Cirque du Soleil, which dominates the Las Vegas Strip and well, globe, is performed with nonstop energy and unabashed spirit that delights from beginning to end.

“Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” which conjures images of Broadway and the circus, as well as Las Vegas, Disney and fanciful, drug-induced hallucinations (as depicted in film, of course), features more than 300 costumes, numerous acts, singers, holiday classics and original music celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s in a two-hour production.

Friday night’s production featured eight acts, a 20-minute intermission and then seven acts. The beginning large yo-yo performer impressed with his accuracy, and the duo aerial acrobats, a celebration of scantily clad male and female physiques, mixed artistry, strength and beauty.

Having reported mishaps over the years during high-speed, circular roller-skating duos, this mistake-free routine was a relief – and riveting. The male contortionist was incredibly bendy, the jump-roping reindeer were goofy fun – remember the “Double Dutch,” fellow Gen X’ers? – and bottles, balls and other objects were balanced by the following act.

A character looking like Johnny Depp in “Alice in Wonderland” led a very funny metal-bell-ringing contest with four audience members, and a male-male act once again demonstrated onstage strength and balance, as well as acrobatics. After a 15-minute intermission, a whimsical and lively outfit-changing skit kicked off the second half of “Cirque Dreams Holidaze.”

An Elvis Presley impersonator appeared onstage crooning a Christmas song, and a woman spun fabric and juggled large white balls on her arms and legs. The remaining acts were a male and female strength and balancing couple and another juggler who used his feet liberally.

Also, a twirler of knives and frame-only cubes to techno and strobe lights; a balancer dressed in a penguin costume who used rollers, stands and jump rope in a palm-sweat-inducing act; and a finale of gorgeous female and male duo silk acrobats to the classic “O Holy Night” rounded out the evening.

“Cirque Dreams Holidaze” followed in the reindeer tracks of “Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes 2019” at FICA on Monday night. Cirque Dreams and Cirque Musica also are separate companies.

Anya Harmon, 12, and her brother Shawn Harmon, 8, aka this reviewer’s niece and nephew, were the guests at “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” and agreed that the balancing acts were the evening’s best.

However, there was “too much sparkle,” Shawn noted a few times during the evening in between howling (because the theater was dark at times), applauding and “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing. Too much sparkle? There’s no such thing – for “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” and the holiday season.

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