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‘Cirque du Solei Boston Presents ‘Twas The Night Before …(review)

In Cirque du Soleil’s holiday-themed outing, ‘Twas The Night Before, the classic Christmas poem has been reimagined into a slick and soaring production to celebrate the season. The audience follows Isabella, a teen who feels she is growing out of reading the same Christmas story with her father each year. As she is whisked away to magical winter wonderland, Isabella finds there is still wonder left for her to discover.

While ‘Twas The Night Before is missing the trapeze and certain other classic Cirque elements, this is a joyful and family-friendly event full of astonishing aerialists, tumblers, dancers, and winter cheer.

The opening performance sets the tone for every act to come, and what would we expect from Cirque but an aerial display?

Flying through the air held by only the straps or each other, the Aerial Duo Straps pair flipped and swung with an athletic grace that hid the extreme difficulty of holding isolations 10 feet in the air. In another act, a glittery diva spins in a brass luggage cart, which rises to swing in the air as she slinks in and out of the untraditional prop. Each time a person ascends in this show, you are guaranteed to get a performance that makes you question why you are not doing more sit-ups.

Back down on the floor, there is more choreography than traditional Cirque fans may be used to.

A particular delight is the troupe of white-clad dancers who provide dance breaks full of hop-hop moves to remixed holiday tracks. The stage at the Boch Center is smaller than the tent, and these touches built for a smaller stage work well to transition the largess of Cirque to a theater audience.

Yet there are even smaller stages to be had, as glittery disco roller skaters spin and swing at up to 30 mph on a special 6 foot platform. The stage is quickly adapted for each dynamic act, and the play extends to the audience as several performances feature aisle engagements (watch that end seat bag placement).

The show is strung together by Isabella watching from the back or side, but you will need to come in with a general knowledge of the tale as showmanship far exceeds storytelling here. The father and daughter have mere minutes to build any kind of connection before being separated, and she has few interactive moments until near the end. I won’t spoil it here, but a scorned present comes back in an absolutely delightful way.

The high-concept acts traditionally associated with the institution are exchanged for high-energy fare you might attribute to a premium network holiday special. The children around me returned every ounce of energy the performers threw out, creating a loop of excitement dotted with shouts and thunderous applause. Parents should be ready to have juggling balls, diabolos, and tumbling mats under the tree as every kid will have dreams of repeating the tricks onstage. ‘Twas The Night Before will be an upbeat addition to your family’s holiday theater tradition, and will hopefully become as classic an outing as The Nutcracker.

For more details regarding Cirque du Soleil Boston shows, Click HERE!
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