A scene from The Aluminum Show
(Photo courtesy of the company)
A scene from The Aluminum Show
(Photo courtesy of the company)
Conceived in Israel by former dancer Ilan Azriel, The Aluminum Show, now in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of its national tour, does everything you can possibly imagine with its star element. In this fast-paced show -- some 20 segments occur in 80 minutes -- aluminum is inflated into pillows, shredded into streamers, shot out of canons, stretched out into a mammoth blanket, floated in mid-air, turned into hand and stick puppets, and repeatedly transformed into the agile Israeli troupe's costumes.

The cleverest of costumer Yaron Zino's creations may be the ones sported by the pretty usherettes who remind us to turn off our cell phones and electronic devices, each of them lit up like a human floor lamp. Other costumes are better described as habitats. Over and over, six dancers totally disappear into large aluminum ducts, which are then animated by Azriel's combination of choreography and puppetry. In an early segment, for instance, two of these aluminum ducts perform a pas de deux. With appendages and heads that occasionally droop from shoulder height to the floor, the dancers look like Slinky toys that have come salaciously to life in a mating dance.

We segue from that torrid tryst to a segment puppetry fans are sure to love. A phalanx of black velvet screens -- the sort used by puppeteers to levitate their iridescent creations in black-light shows -- is stretched across the stage. Little aluminum inch-worm ducts then appear, peeping out of the numerous orifices along the black wall, singing and dancing to a medley of "Stayin' Alive" and "Ghostbusters." At one point, the six lead performers -- four wielding appendages attached to wands and the other two manipulating a head and chest -- form a rudimentary giant creature onstage that is then marched out into the theater.

The music is mostly in an electronic vein, composed by Avi Belleli, Rafael Soffer, and Itay Bachrach. Volume increases as the show moves along, and action becomes progressively more frenetic with repeated forays into the audience. As the orchestra section is invaded by streamers and inflated pillows, and then overrun by gargantuan ducts that begin upstage and snake out over nearly all the seats, the party atmosphere and controlled chaos are very much akin to the climactic moments of Slava's Snowshow.

Kids will go crazy over all of this silver-and-black spectacle, but the best family magic occurs when an audience member is brought onstage, wrapped in foil, and eaten by an aluminum duct. He simply disappeared!