Thursday November 23rd 2017

“Cirque Shanghai Extreme”

Summer fun at Navy Pier’s Skyline Stage is back! Over the years, we have watched this annual event grow stronger and stronger. Better acts,  more glitz and glamour and no stupid story! The first year or so, they felt that they needed to have a story line, I guess in order to compete with the other “Cirque” performances, but in watching the newest show, “Cirque Shanghai Extreme”, a brand new edition, they have proven that the audience needs no story- just sheer talent! The performers in this 70 minute, family-friendly show are some of the best that China has to offer, leaders in their craft of tumbling, juggling, balance and strength. Most of the usual feats are performed, but in a different way. There are lways “silks”,”Hat Juggling” ( getting the audience involved added a certain charm and human touch), “hoop diving” and of course “contortionists”, but in this edition they have added a new twist to even that by having three very talented young ladies do a comic bit with barrels as they contort their bodies into an extremely small barrell.

From the opening number, which now features performers sliding down wires to enter the stage instead of just running down the aisles with flags to the Grand Finale, audience members of all ages will find themselves glued to the stage area. That is for all but one new act- the Death-defying motorcycles on hire wires ( two of these, each with two performers who also do balancing while on the wire) Amazing as they go right over the heads of the audience. When it comes to motorcycles, many “Cirque” shows have the globe where mini motor cycles ride in circles- they have made a larger globe with four cycles traveling at high speeds, just missing each other- astounding!

Directed by Miao Miao Chen and choreographed by one of Chicago’s favorites, Brenda Didier, this is a far more glitzt production than those of previous years and with the excpetion of the “Lyra” number ( five ladies on hoops serving as trapezes) each one is a crowd pleasing experience for the audience. “Extreme” will continue at Navy Pier through September 5th with performances as follows:

Wednesdays at 2 ,4 and 7:30 p.m. ( remember, fireworks follow the evening show)

Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Fridays at 2, 4 and 8 p.m.

Saturdays at 2,6 and 8 p.m. ( fireworks follow the Saturday evening show as well)

Sundays at noon, 2 and 5 p.m.

Tickets range from $15 ( you read right, $15) to $32.50 and are available by calling 800-745-3000 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com/shanghai or of course at the box office at Navy Pier. Children  2 and under are free and having a $15 kids ( ages 3-12) makes this a true family friendly experience that your family will have fond memories of for years.

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