This family-friendly new show from Cirque du Soleil has many exciting moments, but it's too slowly paced.
Indeed, during much of the too-slowly-paced first act, long stretches of almost-nothingness fill the stage, as if the creators were afraid of overstimulating the kiddies. There are some exciting acts, to be sure; notably a bicyclist with a remarkable sense of balance, a man walking a clothesline with enormous skill, a gentleman whose facility with handstands must be seen to be believed, and a female contortionist who makes a scarily convincing rag doll.
But too much time is wasted in setting up the story of a young city dweller who's disappointed that it hasn't snowed yet and is ultimately transported to a magical land where that dream -- and a few others -- finally come true. Not even singing lampposts and oversized sheepdogs -- one of whom sounds like a rap star -- can fully compensate for the slight sense of ennui.
Fortunately, all that changes with the jam-packed second act, which takes place in the magical Wintuk. Here, many of the company's trademark thrills take center stage one after another: women spinning inside hoops; another contortionist whose dance with a group of silver hoops is simply breathtaking; a pair of enchanting female aerialists; and a group of pole jumpers who would put the greatest Olympic athletes to shame.
As with any Cirque show, there are some gorgeous costumes to behold and moments of truly awe-inspiring wonder, including the emergence of giant ice monsters who threaten to destroy Wintuk. (It's the one part of the show that might be a bit too frightening for the youngest theatergoers.) On the down side, the music, one of Cirque's most beloved elements, is more pop-oriented than exotic, complete with some rather banal songs vocalized by those adorable lamposts.