Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Review: Cirque Shanghai: The Year of the Dragon/Navy Pier

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Photo: Paul Natkin


Opening with a string of guys diving through hoops and closing with an insanely impressive spectacle by the Chinese motorcycle troupe “Imperial Thunder, ” this show forgoes any form of forced plot development to focus on seventy-five minutes of nonstop acrobatics, juggling and generally amazing feats—all staged in front of a backdrop of twinkling stars that constantly shift from one color to another. Like any good stunt-based show, each act starts small and repeatedly one-ups itself until it seems that one more ball, one more stacked chair or one more rider on a single bike will be too much. Under the direction of Miao Miao Chen, the fast-paced transitions and smoothly immersive soundtrack helps ensure that the audience stays constantly engaged with this string of athletically mind-blowing bits. The outdoor tent seating gives the whole thing an appropriately carnival-like feel. For what it’s worth, 2012 is “The Year of the Dragon.” (Zach Freeman)

Navy Pier Pepsi Skyline Stage, 600 East Grand, (800)745-3000. $15.50-$29.50. Through September 3.  (Half-Priced Tickets)

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