Cirque du Soleil's Paramour

  • Our critic's rating:
    June 1, 2016
    Review by:
    Tulis McCall

    Review by Tulis McCall
    2 June 2016

    The woman sitting next to me gave me the stink look early on in this production. “Am I being too loud?” I asked. “Yes,” she said and never spoke another word. Nor did she cheer or applaud. The rest of us, however, did. The rest of us whooped it up all night. How could we not when faced with people doing the insane and the impossible?

    Paramour is a thinly disguised excuse to put these gymnasts/dancers on the stage. Noted. The story is a combination of every old plot you can shake a stick at. AJ (Jeremy Kushner) a film director back in the day discovers his next star Indigo (Ruby Lewis) singing in a night club. He takes her on, along with her composer Joey (Ryan Vona). Indigo becomes an instant, and totally exhausted, star. AJ becomes a possessive maniac. Joey pines away. Until it is all made right and the kid gets the girl with the blessings of the loser. The end.

    What happens along the way is some seriously astonishing choreography and acrobatics. This is the kind of stuff that makes you think, “I bet I could do that,” because these people make it look effortless. And even fun. The stand outs would be Andrew and Kevin Atherton, twins who have been with the Cirque du Soleil for over 16 years. They are billed as arial strap artists. After watching them for about 5 minutes you get the impression that the only thing holding them onto the ground is gravity. They flit into the air like beings with invisible wings. The trio of Martin Charrat, Myriam DeRaiche and Samuel William Chaarlton envelope the stage as they present the love triangle with DeRaiche being stretched between them. She moves like silk from one to the other, and travels vertically from the ground to the rafters depending only on strength and balance.

    There ain’t no net here, folks.

    For some reason there are scenes that lack any justification, such as when Indigo moves through a series of costume changes that mimic iconic movie posters. As well there is a sort of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers that serves only to introduce the gymnasts. Indeed there seems to have been a bit of over thinking with this story. This is unfortunate because everyone on that stage is bringing their “A- Game” – and they are a formidable collection of talent. In addition, this is a slightly more mature group of performers than some I have seen at other Cirque shows. Their seasoned approach adds to their grace.

    So take off your judgement glasses and have a good time. Whoop it up, and hope that you are not seated next to the same dour woman who shared my row. But if you are, whoop it up anyway. I hear that happiness is contagious. Most of the time.

    PS – The Lyric was the same theatre where Spider-Man tried to take flight. Too bad they didn’t have this cast.

    Is Paramour brilliant? Not quite. Did I have a great time – you betcha. Stay tuned – up next is Cirque du Soleil’s The Wiz.

    (Tulis McCall)

    "Welcome to 'Paramour,' or as I like to call it, 'A.D.H.D.! The Musical.' The production... represents the latest attempt by the French Canadian entertainment behemoth Cirque du Soleil to make a big splash in New York. This time the company... has decided to splice the time-tested yowza diversions — acrobats and gymnasts and jugglers, oh my! — into a traditional musical, with a plot, characters, show tunes and even a little tap-dancing. The resulting show, I’m sorry to say, achieves the singular feat of being simultaneously frenetic and tedious."
    Charles Isherwood for New York Times

    "'Paramour' wants to be different, outsized and brash. It's the first Cirque du Soleil show created specifically for Broadway, harnessing its muscular gravity-avoiding acrobats to musical theater. The result... is sometimes overstuffed and awkward but always finds its footing when it highlights its soaring, rubber-bodied stars."
    Mark Kennedy for Associated Press

    "A Broadway musical on steroids... Their latest effort attempts to combine Cirque's trademark acrobatic acts with an original Broadway musical. Unfortunately, the resulting hybrid, Paramour, is more Frankenstein's monster than love child."
    Frank Scheck for Hollywood Reporter

    "The show has a book (corny), a score of show tunes (mindless), and a cast of singing and dancing actors playing recognizable character roles. More happily, it also has those aerialists, acrobats, jugglers, and tumblers we love — and plenty of spectacle."
    Marilyn Stasio for Variety

    External links to full reviews from popular press...

    New York Times - Associated Press - Hollywood Reporter - Variety