Salle Thompson astounds the crowd in "Nomade."

Circus astounds, delights

By Shawn "Speedy" Lopes

Those in attendance for Cirque Éloize's production of "Nomade" at the Hawaii Theatre Thursday night who did not ooh, aah or applaud in the right places were likely too awestruck to react to the astounding spectacle.


Repeats at 7:30 p.m. tonight, and 2 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hawaii Theatre. Tickets are $15 to $35. Call 528-0506.

Before a full house, the Montreal-based performance group dazzled its audience with a spellbinding display of impossible, injury-defying stunts and baffling physical feats. With a nod to the wayfaring circus troupes of yore, Cirque Éloize painted an exhilarating, romantic portrait of the life of the traveling circus performer.

The key word here is "performer," for this modern circus employs limber acrobats and contortionists, rather than lions, tigers and elephants in its stage show. Through 20 graceful acts of athletic prowess, trapeze artists, unicyclists, jugglers and clowns exhibited superhuman levels of balance and agility. Performers, propped up by thin wooden beams, took wild aerial flips -- each more daring than the next -- only to land solidly back onto the beams from which they leapt.

Pliant performers, with only giant metal rings as instruments, twisted, spun and soared along and above the stage in an artful display of physicality. Perhaps even more impressive than the kinetic wizardry of "Nomade" was Cirque Éloize's illustration of the boundlessness of the human imagination.

Appropriately, "Nomade's" lighting effects were kept to a minimum, while mood was determined largely by a live string-and-wind quartet which, while shrouded by a gauzy backdrop, produced an exciting and whimsical musical soundtrack.

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