Worcester, MA Gives CRYSTAL Four Stars!

There is no doubt that in its 30 plus years, Cirque du Soleil has become a brand name synonymous with lavish costumes, spectacle and amazing acrobatics blended with dance and other media.

But with the ice show “Crystal,” now playing at the DCU Center, the organization has found way to maintain that reputation while establishing a more solid footing in storytelling as concept performance art … plus blending in some seriously impressive skating, to boot.

In “Crystal,” the title character is portrayed primarily by skater Nobahar Dadui, but the show also features variants of the same character played by others from the ensemble (referred to as “Reflections”) in areas of expertise which include acrobatics, skating, and, especially, the swinging trapeze.

There are six scenes, or rather segments, encompassing the first “Act” which basically involves young Crystal, unhappy with her home life, beginning to skate along a frozen pond when the ice cracks and she falls through into the freezing water. As she succumbs, her imagination brings her to various places, and those she encounters there make her see she all the things she can be.

The show’s nine additional segments in the second “act” are a very emotional journey as Crystal and her “Reflections” meet extremely talented skaters, flyers, ice hockey acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers and more.

There is an impressive aerial straps act featuring music from “Amaluna,” performed by the Valkyries.

During the second act, members of the ensemble, comprised of world-class skaters and acrobats, pose as imaginary “Big City” businessmen, moving transparent panel sets and then stack chairs for a stunt that is thrilling.

In the segment entitled “Juggling,” a Juggler (Jorge Petit, of Chile) performs amazing tricks with other members of the ensemble, including a multi-talented “Comic Character” (Nathan Cooper) who also has numerous entertaining solo moments on the ice as Crystal’s odyssey continues.

In the act one finale ’Playground,” a hockey game takes place where skaters indulge in amazing acrobatic stunts using ramps that transform into a life size pinball machine.

As with most Cirque du Soleil shows, the pinnacle moments in “Crystal” are with the trapeze and hand-to-trapeze artists, who stun as the songs “Chandelier” by Sia and “Halo” by Beyonce are covered to perfection by the show’s rock band, comprised of band leader and keyboard player Steven Bach, violinist Lucine Zirekyts and musician Camilo Motta.

During the segment “Poles,” which could easily be a reference to either of the North or South Poles, the synchronicity of the acrobats includes pole-to-pole jumps which are both suspenseful and breathtaking.

This is followed by the segment “Tap Dance” which is just pure fun as four of the ensemble break the fourth wall and simply engage in a competition for the audience.

In the segment entitled “Ballroom,” Crystal is literally held, elevated, tossed about and returned to earth in a beautifully choreographed aerial straps and skating pas de deux. It is during this and the subsequent “Reflections Clump” scene where Crystal’s journey reaches its stunning visual climax as acrobatics and skating merge with brilliant results.

The show never loses focus and maintains a high energy level throughout. Lighting and other technical wizardry used in the production is also used to great effect. The show is so methodically mapped out, the pacing is absolutely exquisite.

Coming to the peak of the holiday season, the show is the perfect winter spectacle for families to enjoy.

The show runs two hours and 15 minutes with a 20 minute intermission.

{ SOURCE: Worcester Telegram |