Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles triumph combines acrobatics and music in perfect harmony
By Nina King
Cirque du Soleil has become a legend in the entertainment world, creating stunning arrangements of music, costume, staging and acrobatics, productions that awe anyone who sees them. So when that legend joined with the music of the most beloved band of all time, it was only to be expected that something extraordinary would be born.
The Beatles LOVE began as a tossing around of ideas between The Beatles’ George Harrison and Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil. It took a few years to evolve, but when it did it was indeed extraordinary. The production’s music was pulled from recordings made at Abbey Road Studios, remixed by Sir George Martin, The Beatles’ producer, and his son Giles Martin, and Cirque du Soleil constructed a custom theater in the round. The show opened in June 2006 at The Mirage, where it celebrated its sixth anniversary in May.
Although it has had some changes though the years, today it is much the same as when it opened, with audiences wowed from the opening, where huge silhouettes of each member of the group seem to have a conversation about the show to come. Soon, the sounds of “Because” lead into “Get Back,” acrobats appear, ascending cables, as the bandleader rises from the depths of the stage. Ending the beginning, the acrobats slide down the cables upside down.
From there, a dizzying array of acts is woven into a loose history of The Beatles, from their prewar days in Liverpool and rise in popularity to the heady psychedelic ’60s.
Aerial artists, dancers, rollerbladers and balancing acts are all combined with colorful, creative costuming on characters drawn from Beatles songs—Eleanor Rigby, Father McKenzie, Lady Madonna, the Walrus and, of course, bandleader Sgt. Pepper. The music is superb, and there is a lot of it, including such favorites as “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Blackbird,” “Octopus’ Garden,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Hey Jude” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
And one of the more striking numbers has to be “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” where a very down-to-earth fireman, balancing upon his wheeled ladder, gently pursues a beautiful aerialist.
It all wraps up with a ensemble act, as all the artists in the show come together in a mind-blowing finale set to “All You Need is Love,” leaving you to somehow try to sort out all the images swirling in your kaleidoscope eyes.