Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Review: Cirque Shanghai: The Year of the Dragon/Navy Pier

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Photo: Paul Natkin

RECOMMENDED

Opening with a string of guys diving through hoops and closing with an insanely impressive spectacle by the Chinese motorcycle troupe “Imperial Thunder,” this show forgoes any form of forced plot development to focus on seventy-five minutes of nonstop acrobatics, juggling and generally amazing feats—all staged in front of a backdrop of twinkling stars that constantly shift from one color to another. Like any good stunt-based show, each act starts small and repeatedly one-ups itself until it seems that one more ball, one more stacked chair or one more rider on a single bike will be too much. Under the direction of Miao Miao Chen, the fast-paced transitions and smoothly immersive soundtrack helps ensure that the audience stays constantly engaged with this string of athletically mind-blowing bits. The outdoor tent seating gives the whole thing an appropriately carnival-like feel. For what it’s worth, 2012 is “The Year of the Dragon.” (Zach Freeman)

Navy Pier Pepsi Skyline Stage, 600 East Grand, (800)745-3000. $15.50-$29.50. Through September 3.  (Half-Priced Tickets)

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