Review by Ali King
I have been to many ice shows and several Cirque du Soleil shows, but I have never seen anything quite like CRYSTAL, which is the first Cirque du Soleil show to take place on ice.
The show is a mesmerizing combination of skating and aerial work that truly takes your breath away. Add in colorful costumes, incredible special effects, beautiful choreography, and an eclectic mix of musical styles including klezmer, orchestral, jazz, hip-hop and riveting pop tunes, and this magical story comes to life right before your eyes.
The story follows Crystal, an eccentric and quirky schoolgirl with her head in the clouds. After feeling misunderstood, she ventures out onto a frozen pond, falls through the ice, and sees a reflection of herself – her alter ego, who guides her on a journey of self-discovery. Through her writing, Crystal releases the potential of her hidden talent and transforms the world around her with the stroke of her pen. When she breaks through the ice at the end, she is stronger and more confident and has embraced her own individuality.
My 16-year-old daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed this show. We were wowed by the acrobatic stunts, delighted by the graceful figure skating, and captivated by the beautiful use of light and video projections to make special effects and textures on the ice. As a dancer, my daughter especially liked the balletic choreography that occurred throughout the show, particularly when Crystal and her partner perform a stunning duet where Crystal is lifted into the air with a single hand to perform a ballet far above the ice.
Young children might not be able to follow the story, but it doesn’t really matter because there are many elements of this show that they will enjoy – a patchwork “clown” who helps to lighten the mood of the show with his slapstick antics, an ice skating juggler, hockey players who skate over ramps and do flips on the ice as if inside an imaginary pinball machine, a playground scene, an ice bike, and much more. The show was two hours and ten minutes long, including a twenty-minute intermission. I’m not sure the show would hold the interest of very young children, but elementary age and older will be riveted by it.
Parent tip – it’s a bit chilly in there, especially if you are sitting close to the ice rink, so bring a jacket. Also, be sure to get there a bit early so you can experience the pre-show that includes a real snowball fight with a clown who becomes a favorite character by the end of the show, as well as performers warming up on the ice, and musicians playing live music at the side of the rink.
CRYSTAL is visually and musically exciting and does not rely solely on risky maneuvers to captivate the audience. This show melds together the two worlds of ice and air and breaks the traditional mold of ice shows by combining acrobatics, gymnastics, figure skating, and circus humor in a blend that dazzles the audience and defies imagination.
CRYSTAL is performing at the Moda Center through Sunday. You can learn more about the show and buy tickets here: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/crystal