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Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, October 26, 2000

Cirque Eloize
Acrobats fly in Cirque Eloize.

Cirque Eloize

Bullet Cirque Eloize: Shows at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $20 to $50. Call 528-0506.

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin

SEVERAL of the faces are familiar and the amazing blend of theatrical drama and physical skill as impressive as ever as Quebec's Cirque Eloize returns to the Hawaii Theatre.

The superbly talented acrobats, jugglers, mimes and musicians prove once again that much of the human experience transcends language. They portray emotions ranging from embarrassment to romantic longing while exploring the basic appeal of pantomime, slapstick and gymnastics. The show is again titled "Excentricus" and is as thoroughly captivating as it was when it first played here two years ago.

The troupe of 10 does it all in a fast-moving 90-minute series of group routines and solo numbers. They're backed by a five-piece combo dominated by strikingly coifed Pat Donaldson on bass. Donaldson plays the role of domineering ringmaster to great dramatic effect; Claude Vendette (sax/flute) also emerges early as a distinct personality.

Characterizations are an important part of the show. So is the eccentric costuming, hair and makeup that add a suitably bizarre ambience. Vendette wears a fez, guitarist Nelson Begin has "high water" trousers, some of the other men are either shaved bald or close to it while others go for a wild alien look.

Jamie Adkins was obviously an instant hit with all the kids last night as he portrayed a classic comic underdog. Adkins became hopelessly entangled in a folding chair, had his props appropriated by other cast members when he was trying to juggle, and suffered through several other comic misadventures. Adkins also appeared in the group juggling segment that was another of the most popular numbers last night.

Acrobatic bicyclist Sylvain Dubois was another favorite last night. He will certainly inspire many kids to see bicycles and other wheeled toys as far more than forms of transportation.

Two stars of the 1998 show are again outstanding. Daniel Cyr combines marvelous physical technique and engaging characterization performing on a freestanding acrobat's ladder. Marcus is again a gymnastic marvel in his numbers on a thick vertical rope; he also adds an essential character to the wisp of a story line that percolates through the show.

Genevieve Cliche emerges from the troupe to become the memorable centerpiece of several ensemble acrobatic numbers.

Although the cast makes almost everything look effortless, two numbers are evidently so dangerous that key performers wear safety harnesses. Those precautions don't spoil the overall impact of the show.

As in 1998 "Cirque Eloize" is worth seeing twice.

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