Cirque du Soleil: Alegria is a Joyful Blast of Color and Spectacle
Cirque du Soleil is back (in Washington), baby. After a pandemic void and even a bankruptcy filing, the sensational circus act has returned to Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA with Alegria, a show that theoretically has a plot but really doesn’t. The good thing is plot doesn’t matter in lieu of impressive spectacle, athletic feats, and raw entertainment value.
After a tedious pre-opening that feels like its hours long—a dude in a red outfit who likes like Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka after a weeks-long bender wanders around stage looking as confused as the audience, eliciting mercy chuckles at most—Alegria kicks into gear with an entertaining vignette involving the cast jumping, bouncing, and otherwise defying physics with a set of pliant poles.
I’m no circus savant so won’t begin to use the appropriate terminology for the different acts, but each segment elicits a big smile and pure joy (“alegria” means “joy”). A tall, extremely handsome, and absolutely ripped dude spinning around inside a giant metal ring was fun to watch, though you could essentially feel the women in the audience (and presumably non-straight men) leaning in for other reasons. A hula hooper who is slightly better than your grade schooler was awe-inspiring, while a Hawaiian (?) fire dancer with the biggest grin you’ve ever seen was not only equally explosive but looked like he wanted to jump into the crowd and give every ticketholder a big hug.
While I won’t get into every segment, the two-women gymnastics routine took your breath away as they pushed their bodies to the extreme, and the climax, featuring a highwire trapeze act that was literally straight above you (if you sit in the front rows) was the perfect spectacle to cap off the show.
Interspersed with the primary circus acts were a series of humorous vignettes that featured what could best be described as living minions. They hate each other but love each other, and everything in between, and over the course of the 2.5-hour show they manage to deliver a full romantic story arc that won over the crowd. While the little girl sitting behind me made it clear she found them “hilarious,” the show would benefit by reducing their stage time by about 25%; they’re endearing, but some of their moments land better than others and some of the skits go just a little too long. The show would be best to just eliminate the red-jacketed dude altogether; it’s not entirely obvious what his character is trying to embody, but he’s the weak link by a mile.
Cirque du Soleil: Alegria may not be quite as astonishing as some of the other shows that have cycled through Marymoor over the years, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a blast. Highly recommended for people of all ages, take advantage of this big tent act while it’s in town.
Image is from Seattle Refined. View a full photo gallery from the show.