‘Cirque Dreams Holidaze’ Review: Staggering Stunts Unwrapped for Our Enjoyment

Cirque Dreams Holidaze reviewThe holiday season means tinsel, toys and, if the performers of Cirque Productions have anything to say about it, stunts that stagger the imagination.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” now playing at Denver’s Buell Theatre as well as six other U.S. cities this month, transforms Christmas into a death-defying gift worth unwrapping.

Cirque Productions, not to be confused with the Cirque du Soleil franchise, offers more than 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers trying to spark a new yuletide tradition. It’s ideal for families and stressed-out fathers or those who can’t stand to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” one more time.

The production looks like the tackiest Christmas present you’ll ever receive at first blush. Metallic accents dominate the set along with a towering Christmas tree anchoring the candy-colored stage. The visual smorgasbord soon gives way to a series of stunt performances which range from clever to jaw-droppingly grand.

A handsome couple spins away on a tiny ice rink. A performer scales a tall ladder holding a tray full of stacked glasses. Jumprope acrobats bob and weave through a cascade of twine. Spandex-clad men contort their bodies in ways that mock physics.

Arguably the most engaging segment shows a “Maestro” conducting audience members to ring bells for a Christmas melody. It’s a shopworn participation gambit that works to perfection. Moldova native Anatoliy Yeniy displays a knack for physical comedy as fine as any silent film clown.

The production’s music marries an original score – serviceable and jolly – with several Christmas classics. The show’s take on “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” introduces magnificent bells to give heft to an admittedly thin favorite.

A few performances overstay their welcome, and some of the costume choices border on the surreal. One performer looks like the victim of a static cling sock attack. Children will gobble every act up all the same. Parents should caution them not to try any of the stunts at home. The urge, this father suspects, will be palpable.

Holiday purists might find the visual excess and stunning feats of strength to be the antithesis of the Christmas season. Let them humbug their way through the holidays. “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” is far too fun to dismiss.

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