AUBURN HILLS — “I’m so glad this is a dream,” Karl Baumann — aka Bill, the protagonist in Cirque du Soleil’s “Delirium” — said as he hung suspended above The Palace crowd Wednesday night. “Because this is really, really… weird.”
Were he not in the show, you’d think he’d never seen the Cirque du Soleil.
The Montreal-based troupe is, by nature, weird — but wonderfully so — in all of the visual extravaganzas it presents. But “Delirium,” which opened its three-night Palace stand on Wednesday, ups the ante with a part-concert, part-circus spectacle of arena-sized proportions.
Almost arena-sized, that is. With its 100-foot stage and two massive video screens stretched across the length of The Palace fl oor, “Delirium” played to about a third of the house, creating a stunning visual impact wider than the average fi eld of vision, even from the upper deck.
And there was plenty to see, including all the expected Cirque du Soleil fixtures — acrobats, arielists, a hoops manipulator and plenty of dancers (all with fat-free, granitine torsos) — performing a series of jawdropping, blink-and-miss-’em stunts over the course of the one-hour and 50-minute production, while an assortment of projections provided even more eye candy.
There was a plot as well. Our hero, Bill, fl oating around on a ballon above the fray, dreams his way out of a stultifying life as a corporate drone, experiencing adventures that he brings back to the “real” world and inspires a revolt among the masses.
It’s high concept — and absolutely unnecessary to try to follow as you lose yourself in all of the action that’s popping around you.
“Delirium” is certainly a seamless affair, but there are moments in the show that can’t help but stand out — Emilie Therrien’s hula hoops-onsteroids routine during “Slipping Away,” the airborne acrobatic duo in “Battle,” the quartet of Sport Men executing balancing acts so strenuous your muscles hurt just watching them.
Only “Bridge of Sorrows,” the show’s sixth number, seemed too busy, with so much to watch that everything seemed to get lost in the jumble.
“Delirium’s” other fresh wrinkle is its use of music, including musicians and singers performing on stage with their more athletic castmates.
In this setting, the ambient, pulsing tunes were as much a part of the show as the visuals, not unlike a collection of large-scale music videos that would only be a dream to most rock bands.
Ultimately, “Delirium” was Cirque du Soleil on steroids — as if it needed them.
Bigger isn’t always better, but in this case, it only made Cirque an even more engrossing experience.
“Delirium” repeats at 8 tonight and Saturday at The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills.
Tickets are $112.50, $72 and $39.50. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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