Monday, June 28, 2010

Voyage De La Vie

Last Sunday, I braved the crowd at Resorts World Sentosa with some friends when we headed there to catch the first circus production in Singapore - "Voyage De La Vie" or "The Journey of Life". As a Cirque Du Soleil fan, I was excited and hopeful to see Singapore's first production, as the set was designed by Mark Fisher (he who designed U2 concerts and some Cirque shows).

Before I go on to talk about Voyage De La Vie, let me emphasize a little more about how awesome Mark Fisher is. I was at the U2 360 World Tour in London last year to witness first hand the marvel of the stage he designed. The four pillared structure that resembled a "claw" or a "giant alien" was designed with 360-degree configuration in mind. The stage is rumoured to cost around £80 million, with daily production cost of US$750,000. The giant water-proof screen is made up of elongated hexagonal segments mounted on a multiple pantograph system, which enables it to "open up" or spread apart vertically as an effect during the concerts. Now you can understand my excitement in wanting to check out the set of Voyage De La Vie.

The first thing that came to my mind when I walked in to the theatre was "wow, this place is huge". Well, it has a seating capacity of 1,600! I can't wait to see other big productions in this theatre.

Now, let's talk about Voyage De La Vie. It is a simple story of a boy’s metaphoric journey in search of his destiny. He enters the world of the mysterious Lantern Keeper in his imagination, and encountered the charming Crystal Cat and the mesmerizing Diva along other extraordinary inhabitants. The story of life lessons that the boy will learn along the way, were presented through song and dance, magic acts and circus stunts by an international cast from 16 countries.

Our very own talented Jonathan Leong (runner-up in Singapore Idol 2006) plays the lead role of "The Boy". He sings well but I personally find that the songs were not catchy and memorable enough. Loved his Balmain-inspired costumes though. Victor Kee, the juggler from Ukraine plays the Lantern Keeper, who leads the boy through his discovery journey.

Alex Goloborodko, a 16-year-old Russian boy plays the Game Master. He is an amazing contortionist, definitely of Cirque de Soleil's standard I would say. He is so flexible, it was almost "painful" for me watching him contorts himself into a pretzel. I bet you will go "ouch" when you watch him.

Aurelia Cats plays Crystal Cat... and she makes her first appearance in the show by descending from a crescent moon. She's really beautiful and graceful in her performance.

Martti Peltonen plays Death, and he is really good with his bow and arrows. He is a good actor and a sharp shooter (literally) but I thought the acts didn't display the true portrayal of his skills. Liina Aunola plays Life, and her swing rope act got me sitting at the edge of my seat. It was so thrilling and I was so worried she will fall or hurt herself.

Melanie Chy from Switzerland plays Diva. The scene came across as messy and didn't do her justice. She was supposed to play the diva, but I personally felt she came across as "butchy" more than "diva-ish".

Overall, Voyage De La Vie was entertaining. I have to applaud the show's effort in engaging the audience through actors mingling with the crowd, with confetti falling from the ceiling and giant balloons being hurled at the crowd at the end of the performance. The set was well-designed and I love the pyrotechnic effects. Some acrobatic acts were rather world-class, though not all. The singing was good, though the lyrics and melody could be more catchy and memorable. If you are looking for something to do over the weekend, go catch the show but leave your high Cirque De Soleil expectations at home. so you won't be disappointed. This ain't Cirque De Soleil, but more of a rock musical. However, I think kids will enjoy this show very much, judging from the response I witnessed last Sunday.

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