Every year the Royal Albert Hall plays host to Cirque du Soleil, whose cast of exceptional performers come from across the globe. 2020 marks their 30th anniversary in bringing their shows to the UK. This year Luzia is billed as a "tribute to an invented Mexico".
The brand new 2020 production definitely lives up to their profound reputation.
Many of the cast have personal connections to Mexico and Director Daniele Finzi Pasca who has lived there for the past ten years wanted to bring the enchanting vision of the country to life through Luzia. Cirque du Soleil is renown for it's outstanding entertainers who perform breathtaking and daring acrobatics.
The brand new 2020 production definitely lives up to their profound reputation. The opening scene introduces the main entertainer for the evening, "the clown" (Fool Koller) jetting onto the stage attached to a parachute free-falling to earth with a map in hand and a rucksack on his back. Prepare to be wowed by the huge turntable style stage allowing everyone in the audience to get a good look. The landscape changes throughout the show, from fields, desert and a spectacular curtain waterfall which drops from the top of The Royal Albert Hall, through which the acrobats perform. The waterfall is also used as a backdrop, with a vast selection of images projected on to it, making it appear to be falling as patterns rather than a sheet of water. All of this takes place under the watchful eye of the large glowing sun which dominates the back of the stage.
Although the clown is not the primary focus of this production he is often present and breaks up the intervals between certain scenes and at one point comes on with a beach ball and whistle in mouth. He proceeds to entertain and controls the crowd just by using the whistle, hand gestures and clear facial expressions. A very clever tried and tested technique used for many years by entertainers and it certainly had an impressive and very effective impact. As he appeared to have the whole of the Royal Albert Hall's audience in the palm of his hand during the whole piece.
One of the most outstanding scenes in my opinion in the production is by the incredible contortionist Alekski Goloborodko. During part of his act, it wasn't easy working out which parts of his body were connected to which. As at one point he had contorted himself so tightly that it appeared to be that his head was attached to his back. The entire piece takes place on a clear bridge with only a limited space for him to move around. I have never seen this before in my life and he certainly didn't disappoint.
There isn't a storyline as such with this particular production from Cirque du Soleil; it's more a celebration of all things to do with Mexico and showing off the vibrant side where they celebrate life through dance, music and a range of quirky scenes. Visually it is absolutely stunning and you cannot fault any of the special effects used throughout the production.
There are two animated animals that also appear in this production one takes the shape of a silver-plated war horse and the other is a beautiful tiger. You watch the tiger prowl around the stage and drink from the water hole playing intermittently with an incredible acrobat who was also using the water hole as part of his performance. The acrobats upper body strength was incredible and he made the rope movements look so easy.
Both the horse and the tiger gracefully move around the stage making it easy to suspend your disbelief and believe that they are not animated at all as they both take on a very lifelike persona with the team of animators controlling them.
Giovanni Buzzi the costume designer has worked to create an array of breathtaking costumes from the outstanding monarch butterfly whose enormous wings stretch up towards the high ceiling almost reaching the top, to the woodland creatures including a beetle and armadillo to the array of brightly coloured birds that swoop across the stage at various points.
I would definitely recommend this production as a fantastic night out during these long winter nights and it would definitely cheer anyone up by spending at evening in their company as you absorb yourself into the vibrant imaginative land of Mexico.