Cirque Shanghai | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Cirque Shanghai

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For not much more than the cost of a movie, you can watch dozens of accomplished Chinese acrobats juggle, fly from trapezes, jump through hoops, and ride a bike en masse. Unfortunately, you have to put up with emcee Marco Polo's annoying cartoon-character delivery of writer Richard Marcus's anachronistic patter, with its doomed stabs at humor. Though the impulse to put the show in the context of the Silk Road is admirable, the execution cheapens it. Besides, you can see the cultural differences if you just open your eyes: the Eastern emphasis on symmetrical forms and de-emphasis of the individual, the childlike interest in taking on animal shapes. Or sports-hero shapes: in one rousing number, the men don baseball uniforms. Through 9/3: Wed-Thu 3 and 8 PM, Fri-Sat 3, 5, and 8 PM, Sun 3 and 5 PM, Navy Pier, Pepsi Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand, 312-902-1500, $12.50-$14.50.

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