Everyone loves to watch acrobats and Cirque type shows and a new concept has hit Chicago. It is called “Traces”, a blend of circus, physical theater, music and dance into 90 minutes of pure energy by a cast of seven truly wonderful performers. There is no real plot to the production, although from the start and finish, it almost appears hat these seven people are in a warehouse or in a vacant theater, and are just having fun with each other and “doing their thing”. At the very end of the show it appears that the police are coming and they run helter skelter to escape. It really doesn’t matter that there is no story as what we have is a theatrical entertainment that will have you laughing, applauding and in some cases in awe of what you are seeing in the very intimate space now known as The Broadway In Chicago Playhouse. This is the redone, new look theater that has replaced the Drury Lane Water Tower and is starting off with a “BANG”!.
“Traces” is almost a combination of other theatrical experiences tied into one- We have the feeling of a “Stomp” and a “Cirque Shanghai” mixed with the rock sounds of a “Blue Man Group” all rolled into a well choreographed “Urban Acrobatic Experience”- to bring the circus to a more personal and human scale. We get to watch the amazing “hoop” well executed by Bradley Henderson, a new chair balancing act that will amaze you, performed by Florian Zumkehr ( who also plays the guitar and piano) and a marvelous and very sensual dance/acrobatic sequence by the only female in the troupe, Valerie Benoit-Charbonneau and Mason Ames. Ames by the way is a large man with the agility of a much smaller one. In fact, I doubt that there is one ounce of fat on this entire cast.
To round out the cast, we have Xia Zhengqi who does a solo bit and is astoundingly flexible as they do the tumbling with hoops, Philippe Normand-Jenny who flys through the air with the greatest of ease ( he is also a larger man than one is used to seeing do the feats he does) and Mathieu Cloutier who gives new meaning to “pole dancing”. There some clever urban bits utilizing a basketball and skate boards, some “hip” music and some marvelous dance steps created by Choreographers/directors Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider. The energy of this show is absolutely mind-boggling. The intimacy of the “playhouse” brings these performers very close to their audience and in fact there were times that they came into the audience. While I was very impressed with this production and found laughs as well as thrills, I am not sure this show is for everyone and in particular at the ticket prices for the show. They range from $50-$71.50 which will make it hard for this to be a family show. In our current economy, having a family of four spend $200 ( plus parking and food) for 90 minutes is a bit high. But wait! Broadway In Chicago, knowing that our economy is not back to normal yet, has RUSH tickets available- 25 per performance at $25 ( day of performance only) and I would look for some special promotions as well. This is a fun show and an experiences that you will savor so check out their website and see what is available.
“Traces” will run until December 19th with performances as follows:
Tuesday-Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. matinees at 2 p.m., Wednesday,Saturday and Sunday
There will be no performance on Thanksgiving and a special 2 p.m. matinee on Friday, November 26th
You can purchase tickets at any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices,, by phone at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com