Review: ‘A Magical Cirque Christmas Is Now At CIBC Theatre, But There Are Better Holiday Choices

Review: ‘A Magical Cirque Christmas Is Now At CIBC Theatre, But There Are Better Holiday Choices

Since Cirque means "you'll get your credit card" in French, hardly a holiday season passes without the perfect adjective appearing on the list of seasonal attractions.

Hell, there are at least two in Chicago this year: Magical Circus Christmas on Broadway in Chicago at the CBC Theater this week and Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Auditorium Theater December 22-24.

If you like circus like me, I recommend you wait for "Holidaze" or go to the incredible Cabaret Zazu. Tuesday night's "Magical Circus Christmas" was unrehearsed, clearly chaotic mayhem that did the circus' hard-working talent show team an injustice.

To be honest, in all the years I've judged downtown entertainment shows, I can't think of a show with so many flashing lights, soaring voices, amazing people behind the scenes and so many other themes. Or the one that looks so cheap.

The problems were conceptual and practical.

The hostess of the evening, the witch Lucy Darley, tries to return to save Christmas, but breaks her car keys. It takes us on an action-packed video journey through multiple eras, squeezed into a rear video screen, its size and scale obliterating all humanity before it. This narrative device is difficult to follow. The highlight of my evening was walking down Monroe Street, where a crowd of adoring onlookers burst out laughing because no one in their group had a clue what was going on, which probably needs a explanation. It was given inaudibly while the men were still in place. God bless all these people.

I am distracted. Within the year Whenever we get to a certain point in the 1950s, there's another sideshow doing its thing: Jonathan Rainey on a unicycle, Christopher Stoyneve on boats, Kevin DeMaro spinning hoops, Itzel Salvatierra and Scott Cooper hold hands. David Locke Syrah, Niki Faubert and Olivier Belzile make tapes and, perhaps most importantly, Arin Shelander spins and shoots arrows from a part of the human body that doesn't normally fulfill this role.

All of the above are good deeds worthy of infinite glory, but they are lost in the whirlwind.

Regular readers know I'm a huge fan of the witch Carice Hendricks aka Lucy Darling, but performance-wise, in a venue the size of the CIBC Theatre, especially with the Nose, it's hard to pull the magic out of Table. A video stream that rarely focuses in the right place or anywhere. If he wants to play in a room of this size, Hendrix, a great talent, must expand his cast and his personality and get better technical and creative support. Here, every time they try to talk to the viewer, the room is filled with blinding light that spoils the moment.

Vocalist Audrey Bartholomew (on behalf of the band) What I'm suggesting is to resist the bad sound.

It was a difficult evening, even with a talented audience. Buyer beware.

Chris Jones is a critic for the Tribune.

[email protected]

Review: Magical Christmas at the Circus (2 stars)

When: until Sunday

Where: CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St.

Duration: 2 hours

Tickets: $20 to $80 at 800-775-2000 or

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