Clowns Unwanted: From Banana Shpeel. Many disgruntled critics blamed them for mucking up an otherwise modest package of very good circus turns.
Cirque du Solei King Laliberte evidently was undaunted by the nasty reviews his stage vaudeville show suffered in Chicago, to a lesser degree in New York.
But he apparently is not up to dealing with insufficient crowds not swamping his box office ticket windows.
Following its aborted "limited" New York run at the Beacon Theatre, Banana Shpeel, to my awestruck surprise, looked to be hitting the road, first stop, city of my questionable birth: San Francisco. So I really wanted to take a look. Nothing like seeing for yourself -- how unfairly dissed it might have been, or what a colossal turkey it was. Gawking has its minor rewards.
Then I learned a few days ago, checking up on its earlier advertised Oct-Nov. date at the Golden Gate Theatre across the Bay in Navel Gazing Central, that the run had been shuttered in early October.
Nor does this well covered Broadway flop show its face on the Cirque du Soleil website, which lists 22 shows world wide, not a one of them flaunting fluffy Frenchy Fatuous banana shpeel looks. Director David Shiner seems to have escaped somewhere to Europe.
I am convinced (despite a curiously affirmative notice in Gotham from Variety hailing the clowning), that the clowning was the show's worst enemy. Number of critics recognized a few good circus acts. Public is still funny that way, looking for "circus acts."
Might this gigantic box office pratfall not cast ominous shadows over two upcoming other new stage shows from the Montreal Monster, one to spread its ambitious over Radio City Music Hall, the other in the seedy neon-coated center of Hollywood, CA, at the Kodak Theatre, a venue desperate ever since it was built for a viable attraction. A revamped Banana? (OK, I couldn't resist)
Fasten your seat belts, kid, with Cirque du Soleil, the admirable artistic courage is copious, capricious, relentless and redoubtable, the results often breath taking, though sometimes curiously still born, albeit, wrapped in exotic dazzlements and techno allurements fit for the fussiest of fickle culture vultures.