Cirque Shanghai Dragon's Thunder Review - Awesome Family Fun

Mulan's Dragon Drums

Coming all the way from China, Cirque Shanghai’s Dragon’s Thunder returns to Chicago’s Navy Pier for an extended stay.  More Barnum than du Soleil in its pacing, Cirque Shanghai features an almost unrelenting cascade of contortionists, acrobats, and motorcyclists who all seem hell bent on cheating death.  Although they are certainly more performer than athlete, the athleticism involved in their stunts is completely mind blowing.  I mean, who thinks working within and, gulp, on top of a suspended, whirling gopher wheel is a good idea?  All I can say is that I could not have been the only one relieved when the performers (who did things like jump rope while keeping from free falling maybe thirty feet) eventually returned to earth.  Even the solo performing clowns here balance on top things that should not be balanced on (like a ball, with a block on top, and then another ball on top that, and then maybe a rectangle on top of that, and then finally a plank of wood placed off center on top of everything else).  I tell you, my mother would not approve.

Wheel of Destiny

The Rolla Bolla

What else does this circus have to offer?  A lot of drumming, a little ballet, beautiful costumes, and a tad overly frantic music (the kind of music played just before the hero rescues the woman tied to the rail road tracks).  Maybe I could have done without the ballet.  There was no ring master but I don’t think this circus needed one.  And the canopied and breezy Pepsi Skyline Stage seemed a perfect venue for the performance.  The night I reviewed this circus the Blackhawks were in a game seven playoff match and I only checked my phone once.  That is just how good this circus is.

Group contortionists perform

Shoulder Ballet

Bottom line:  Cirque Shanghai:  Dragon’s Thunder is highly recommended for everyone (except my mom).  This is something the whole family will truly enjoy.  They will be performing multiple times a day through September 2nd on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.   The Pepsi Skyline Stage is located on Navy Pier above the main drag (look for signs leading you to the Shakespeare Theater).  The circus is performed under a canopy so the show will go on rain or shine.  For more information about Dragon’s Thunder click here navypier.com/cirqueshanghai/ .  For more reviews and information about theater and other live events go to theatreinchicago.com/

Hoop Diving

Photos courtesy of Cirque Shanghai

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