Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline Review
One of the highest compliments that can be paid to a theater act is its universal appeal. Most are geared toward – and appreciated by – a specific audience.
But not “Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline,” which is playing this summer at The Palace Theatre in Myrtle Beach. The party of six with which I attended included males and females and ranged in age from 4 to 65, and every member of my group, as well as the hundreds of audience members around us – left entertained.
It's a tough trick to please so many, but tricks are what the cast of “Le Grande Cirque” is all about. Just as the young and old also enjoy the more traditional American circus, the same is true of the French stage version, which also features awe-inspiring acrobats and gravity defying gymnasts, but so much more.
The two-hour performance is a non-stop thrill ride that keeps the crowd on the edge of its seat. The entire show features exactly zero spoken words so the show relies on the creative use of lighting, music and pantomime to build the drama around the performers. The show allows the action speak for itself.
There's no ring-leader or carnival barker to hype the daredevil acts, only a mime that entertains the crowd with audience participation gags during set changes. One word to the wise: Arrive on time or you will likely be the subject of the mime's non-verbal jokes or worse, called up on stage for public humiliation.
But it's all in good fun and the crowd participation brings needed comic relief between the dramatic stunts and also lets the audience feel like part of the act.
But after the mime has done his thing and the lights go down, the curtain opens on a new set of surprises. “Le Grand Cirque” has become a summer standard at the Palace, but this one is different, with the injection of “Adrenaline” into the title an appropriate term since the acts include a motorcycle-stunt finale.
But before I get ahead of myself, the bread and butter of the showcase is straight out of a darker stripped-down version of Barnum & Bailey's. Some of the stunts are so amazing that it doesn't spoil the show to hear about it beforehand. It's still something that your eyes have to see for your brain to believe.
The wheel of death is back, but this time doubled. It's like a pair of large hamster wheels mounted on both ends of an axis that performers use to wow the crowd with bizarre flips and tricks. The tightrope act also is back, but with the new twist of a motorcycle rider driving on the thin line high above the stage.
Trapeze artists, rope acrobats, trampoline jumpers and bizarre balancing acts are just a few of the stunts that are delivered flawlessly and in rapid-fire fashion.
Adding to the drama is the effective use of dancers and actors surrounding the stage to keep the action flowing. There's always something happening on stage.
The result is a two-hour thrillathon that is ideal for families looking for an exciting night out. Death-defying stunts and tricks never get old to the older set, and are especially amazing to the youngsters. Children are admitted free with a paid adult for the month of August, a good time for families to get cheap thrills.