Anyone who has yet to witness the artistic splendor, superhuman spectacle and joyous beauty of a Cirque du Soleil show would do well to head over to the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa before Dec. 23. Under the trademark yellow and blue tent, one will find the latest show in the French-Canadian circus company’s series of traveling circuses, Corteo, which combines gravity-defying acrobatics with vibrant imagery and evocative themes of death and tragedy to craft a strangely playful show.
Missing is the bombastic chaos and extravagant excess of a traditional American three-ring circus with animals and clowns and stunts and fire and acrobats and loud noises galore. Cirque du Soleil houses its performances under an intimate tent with 2,600 seats surrounding a single stage, where performers enter and exit unexpectedly and soft, colorful lighting makes the bright costumes and dazzling acts look like they exist in a parallel world.
Though some attempt is made, as in all Cirque du Soleil shows, to weave a narrative throughout the show that ties together the various acts, Corteo is better seen as a series of acrobatic feats