NEW YORK DAILY NEWS CIRQUE DREAMS: JUNGLE FANTASY REVIEW
Having a vine time swinging in 'Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy'
by Joe Dziemianowicz
‘Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy.’ Through Aug. 25, Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway Tickets: $25-$95, (212) 239-6200
Just as "Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy" is about to begin, a guy dressed up like a tortoise starts creeping across the forest floor. "The show will begin," a voice booms, "as soon as the turtle gets out of the jungle."
The slow-moving reptile is a sly little joke - a rare instance when this finely polished production isn't zipping around the Broadway Theatre, where it opened last night following a two-year U.S. tour.
It's not a Broadway show in the traditional sense, of course. It's a spectacle of acrobatics and feats of strength done to airy music, dazzling lighting effects and in eye-popping costumes. Think Cirque du Soleil, the older and more famous rival of the 15-year-old Cirque Dreams, but not as overtly sexy or ambitiously arty.
And that's okay.
"Jungle Fantasy" has its own smiling, family-friendly vibe. Running two hours, with intermission, it's colorful, imaginative and expertly performed by a cast of 28 from Mongolia, Moscow, Manhattan and beyond.
Creator/director Neil Goldberg looked to Mother Nature for story inspiration: A young adventurer (Marcello Balestracci) discovers the wonders of the jungle by day and night. That's enough of a reason to get bodies bending, whirling and defying gravity.
Sergey Parshin, from Russia, and Naomi Sampson, of the U.S., are breathtakingly graceful as they soar like butterflies. And when Russian strongmen Alexander Tolstikov, Serguei Slavski and Pavel Pozdnyakov effortlessly stack themselves into a leotarded totem pole, you do believe in Supermen.
The most edge-of-your-seat act is the wild-and-crazy Anatoliy Yeniy, from Moldova, and Vladimir Dovgan, of the Ukraine. Dressed as giraffes, they stick their necks out and somehow stay balanced while teetering on a precarious pile of paint-can-size cylinders.
Adding laughs are emu-like creations in pink tights and rhythmic frogs. Goldberg keeps the action flowing and dynamic. There's always a lot to see.
And hear. Though the disco-driven music is piped in - worth noting and grousing about - it's enhanced by three Americans: singer Jill Diane, drummer Lee Miller and violinist Jared Burnett, whose character is, from the hips down, a tree, and from waist up, a buff man who can bench-press an elephant.
For light summer entertainment, this is a "Fantasy" worth indulging.
COMING UP: MEMPHIS
Sign up and you could win FREE TICKETS!
19 - Memphis
22 - After Miss Julie
25 - Brighton Beach Memoirs
29 - Finian's Rainbow
15 - Ragtime
19 - In The Next Room . . .
23 - Fela!
6 - Race
10 - Broadway Bound
13 - A Little Night Music
$26.50 - $96.50
Call: 212-239-6200 Click here to buy now.
Show Run Time: 2 hours with 1 20 minute intermission
New York, NY 10019
DidHeLikeIt.com is the top Broadway resource for reviews of Broadway plays and musicals. We provide show reviews from The New York Times, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Variety, and more! DidHeLikeIt.com also provides Broadway and Off-Broadway show information and ticket information.