Review: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Crystal’ Delivers Chilling Beauty in Solitude

By Jonny Bones

Photo by Matt Beard

Abbotsford Centre
April 13th, 2018

Combine the death defying majesty of aerial acrobatics with the seemingly effortless elegance of figure skating, and you have yourself the basic pitch for the newest creation to come from the Circus of the Sun.

This unique production tells the tale of Crystal, a young outcast, who finds comfort and creativity in the time spent alone with her thoughts. One evening, while skating on a frozen lake long after the other children had left for the comfort of their warm homes, Crystal falls through a crack in the ice and enters a world that can only come from the creative minds behind Cirque du Soleil.

As we follow Crystal through a journey of self discovery, she travels to bizarre locations and encounters the odd inhabitants of this strange new world. From a TV addicted, Hunter S. Thompson-esque psychedelic vision of her cookie-cutter nuclear family to entering the mind-numbingly militant, utterly Orwellian workforce, Crystal struggles with fractured images of her own identity, desperately trying to break free and find the strength hidden with herself, refusing to lose the creative spark burning inside her.

Throughout Crystal’s quest for meaning, the audience is dazzled with high flying acts and breathtaking visual effects, all masterfully executed throughout the performance by a diverse cast of skaters, aerialists, hand balancers, jugglers and more. Many of the artists learned to adapt their skillsets to be performed on ice, adding yet another element of danger and challenge they had never experienced before.

While blending these two worlds together in an imaginative and unquestionably unique way for the very first time was truly entertaining, it was somewhat difficult, at times, not to be pulled out of the narrative enough to notice that you were experiencing this spectacle from a local ice rink. While the sheer amount of raw talent and adaptive creativity on display for the most part made up for the lack of atmosphere in the venue, it was the one flaw that could not seem to be ignored in an otherwise transformative experience.