nytheatre.com review by Rohana Elias-Reyes
April 9, 2011
Cirque Mechanics’ fantastic nouveau cirque-cum-Western Boom Town packs a full circus experience into the New Victory. My kids loved every minute of it; but the adults in the audience appreciated it at least as much, if not more. Many of the show’s creators and performers have toured with Cirque du Soleil—but the New Victory’s affordable ticket prices ($9 –$38), central location, and Boom Town’s 80 minute running time make this an especially great option for families.
As with much contemporary circus, Boom Town’s story is a loose plot that gives lots of space for traditional circus acts wrapped in characters and relationships at home in a theater setting. Here two rival saloon owners set up business in a gold-rush boom town peopled with typical wild West archetypes, who all happen to be amazing acrobats and aerialists. The competition leads to comically disastrous results, but all is resolved when their children fall in love, and of course, gold is struck. Cirque Mechanics’ creative team takes full advantage of the Western theme, which, combined with their approach to designing unique circus apparatus, makes for a lot of unexpected fun: a wagon wheel chandelier transforms into an aerial hoop and mining cars turn out to be moveable trampolines for a high speed routine involving most of the company.
The performers make everything seem so effortless that the kids didn’t know just how impressed they should be with the non-stop feats of strength, flexibility, agility, balance, and grace—not to mention great comic timing. I like to think I made up for the kids’ blasé attitude by sitting with my jaw dropped and gasping or giggling almost the entire time. They in turn made up for my restraint during acts involving Clepto Clown and Clem the Miner, both of whom they found hysterical, especially when Clepto pulled a dad out of the audience to help her with a jail break. Younger kids may find the loose plot and set transformations a little confusing, so be prepared for a lot of what’s and why’s during the performance—“What’s a saloon? Why is beer free? Why did she steal the gold? Why is he still jumping?”—but don’t fret about them. The New Victory is a great place for kids to practice their theater behavior, because a few enthusiastic slips won’t bother anyone.
After the show, I asked for a quick review. “Great!” said my daughter. “Great! Great! Great!” said my son. And I have to say, I totally agree.