Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s premiere of “Cirque Goes Hollywood;” a collaborative show featuring Troupe Vertigo was an eclectic assortment of entertainment featuring singers, acrobats, and everything in-between.
The enchanting orchestral selections were a delight for the ear and eyes alike as instruments danced seamlessly within the large set; allowing audiences to become entranced by the subtle rise and fall of the musicians’ arms as they brought music to life. Led by the entertaining and charismatic conductor, Jack Everly, the popular tunes were exceedingly more compelling and impactful when performed live. Perhaps most remarkable was the score from “Shape of Water” that required whistling; of which a stringed musician impressively rose to the occasion.
The enchanting orchestral selections were a delight for the ear and eyes alike as instruments danced seamlessly within the large set; allowing audiences to become entranced by the subtle rise and fall of the musicians’ arms as they brought music to life.
The orchestra was performed alongside two vocalists that at times left much to be desired. Despite being dressed in a stunning assortment of gowns, N’Kenge felt under-rehearsed whereas singer Ron Remke’s performance was well-practiced but lacking in physical presence. Also in performance were members of the George Washington University Singers and the Bridge Ensemble who contributed to the large chorus sections.
Throughout the performance, Troupe Vertigo performers were sprinkled in with juggling, acrobatics, and aerialist acts. While entertaining, the circumstances limited the performers as the exits were not easily-accessible and shadows of performers offstage distracted from the mainstage. The performers also allowed certain details to be overlooked such as clothing tags; thus detracting from the overall performance. During aerialist acts, the admirable stage crew could be seen above the stage sweating equally as hard as they hoisted dancers into the air.
The L.A. based company had an impressive variety of performers. While the men seemed to have larger roles, the women were particularly compelling in their acrobatic skills and much more adept at transitioning between tricks. An acrobatic solo to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” however felt irresponsible as it was performed en pointe without proper ballet training. Nevertheless, the dancer was highly-skilled in her acrobatic craft.
Troupe Vertigo performers excelled in silks and costume design. The first number following the opening act demonstrated these strengths as a woman dressed in a fabulous red dress turned silks created a visually captivating scene that was vaguely reminiscent of Jessica Lang’s “the Calling “ costume. Equally magnetic was a spellbinding female silk solo performed to a number from “the Greatest Showman” that enlivened an already stellar piece of music; thus moving the audience toward a pure artistic experience.
The finale was complete with dancers that turned onstage as if performing Loie Fuller’s “Serpentine” while various performers reconvened on stage for their final bow and a surprise confetti throw by the conductor. All in the all, the performance was great fun and appealed to a wide variety of audiences. The range of Hollywood classics and the physicality of the performers was accessible to all age groups allowing audiences to be entertained and inspired by art and the capacity of collaboration.
Running Time: 117 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.
“Cirque Goes Hollywood” at Strathmore Music Center runs through Sunday, April 7, 2019, at 3:00 PM. For more information and tickets, click here.