Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Morning Midway: Cirque Turkey Headed for NY Chopping Block? Critix Pens Loaded with Red Ink ...


Already, NY press talking down Cirque Du Soleil's troubled Banana Shpeel, the recipient of wretched notices in its Chicago shake-down mode, still set for NY opening on February 25 at the Beacon Theatre, where a bloody reception may ensue. New York Post writer Michael Riedel nearly salivating over reports of a colossal catastrophe, noting that Madison Square Garden, having "shoveled $10 million into this fiasco, is furious."

His report dances on the expected grave of a deliciously awful, or awfully delicious flop. You can see the red ink already gushing out of his pen, quoting "several people" working on the project as calling it a "train wreck," "a nightmare" and, if that doesn't suit your sadistic fantasies, "one of the worst shows you've ever seen."

Hmmm, might that become a marketable hook?

A couple of "scary clowns," first let go, were rehired by Guy Laliberte, feeling they give the show "edge." Riedel had found them too much like Wayne Gacy, the Chicago serial killer. Overactive critics -- beware.

What a spectacular gamble King Laliberte is taking; does he really want the bad press this one seems destined to generate? In the BIG APPLE, of all places? On the other hand, this banana may be frenetically weird enough to connect with audiences hungry for not the same old same old. Sometimes new bad can do the trick.

"They are proceeding without a script or any idea of what they need to do in order to fix the show."

How eccentrically creative. And how I'd love to be there on opening night. Whatever hits the boards, there should be plenty of mouth-dropping drama, intended or not, at or around the Beacon.

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