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AntiGravity: The 2007 Tour

Even in its best moments, this acrobatic troupe comes off as a poor man's Cirque du Soleil.

By New York City
A scene from AntiGravity: The 2007 Tour
(© Diane Biderman)
A scene from AntiGravity: The 2007 Tour
(© Diane Biderman)
As I sat through AntiGravity: The 2007 Tour, listening to a variety of second-rate pop and rock hits about flight, I kept waiting for Stephen Schwartz's "Defying Gravity" to fill the air. It turned out to be one of many dashed expectations for this surprisingly disappointing show.

This particular 90-minute outing (not counting intermission) -- which is making its final stop at the Hammerstein Ballroom through July 2 -- is reportedly comprised of the "greatest hits" of the troupe's past 16 years. To be honest, that makes me a little concerned about what their lesser material looks like. Even at its best, AntiGravity is a poor man's Cirque de Soleil -- minus that group's innovative costumes, storylines, and musical accompaniment.

In fairness, this is a traveling arena show that has to have a somewhat simpler look than Cirque -- and the Hammerstein Ballroom is far from the world's most attractive venue. Yet, a little more care could have been taken in creating a special visual experience. (The lack of a credit for a set designer is quite telling.)

Moreover, while it's possible that the troupe may have once been in the forefront of innovation, little on view here now comes off as particularly original. For example, the routine called "Hammocks," with a group of women dangling mid-air from white sheets, is thrilling only if you haven't seen Jane Krakowski do something similar in Nine. (Yes, she borrowed the trick from the company!)

Or take the impressive "Acroduet," in which one half-naked man balances another half-naked man with just one hand. Good as it is, the bit has also become a Cirque staple in recent years. Ditto the female contortionist.

Perhaps the finest and most unusual moments of the show were at the very end of Act One, with six men bouncing off a trampoline onto the top of a wall, and the "Antigravity Party" which comes towards the very end of the second act and includes a few of the guys jumping up and down in those very cool-looking AntiGravity Boots.

Without question, the men and women on stage are remarkably toned and unbelievably flexible, and they bare just enough flesh to provide some titillation, while still being family-friendly. The Lombard Twins, a pair of lithe Argentinians who periodically danced front and center in order to mask some backstage changes (and who always kept their clothes on) were also mildly entertaining. But like most of AntiGravity, they failed to truly lift my spirits.


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