Cirque du Soleil has once again pitched its enormous tent in Marymoor Park for its newest show, "Amaluna." For Cirque fans, the show will feel very familiar - with one particular twist.
Every Cirque du Soleil show seems to have the same basic ingredients - lots of aerial acrobatics and gymnastics, feats of dexterity and strength, slapstick clowns, a driving Euro-pop soundtrack, and spectacularly colorful sets and costumes.
Amaluna delivers on all of them and adds this twist - it's a show not only about women and dedicated to women, it's a show mostly of women. The cast of Cirque shows is usually 75 percent men, 25 percent women. For Amaluna, that ratio is reversed.
And that, surprisingly, is part of the problem. For this man, at least, the show could benefit greatly from a bit more testosterone.
I didn't really notice this until right after intermission but the first act, although pretty to look at, lacks the punchy energy that picks up the tempo of so many other Cirque shows. Taking advantage of the predominantly female cast, Amaluna introduces an all female, uneven bars act, for the first time ever. But as slick as the performers were, it didn't seem any more spectacular than what most of us have seen countless times in the Olympics.
The second act, however, kicks off with a bunch of male acrobats who use a kind of see-saw or teeter-totter to shoot each other up into the stratosphere. They're part of just about every Cirque show I've ever seen but, boy, do they add a boost of energy to the show. If it were up to me, I'd try to work them into the first act as well.
They were then followed by my favorite act of the night, the woman who balanced over a dozen long pieces of wood, some as long as 20 feet in an incredible feat of concentration and dexterity - she actually lifts each piece up by her toes AS she balances each new item. A riveting, tension-filled ten minute act - an act that I had never seen in any of the 7 or 8 Cirque shows I've seen.
I also appreciated Cirque incorporating into "Amaluna" the human-sized waterbowl, from their Zumanity show. Cirque perfected the use of water-based acrobatics in their Vegas show "O" but since that's not a traveling show, it was nice to get a travel-size version. The fantastic contortionist worked her magic inside and outside the water to great effect.
Overall, I felt the second act more than made up for the lackadaisical first act. But I must admit, I may have reached my fill of Cirque du Soleil. Next time, they'll need to come up with something fresher than just changing the ratio of women to men.