The $100 million show opened in September 2011 at the Hollywood and Highland Center’s Dolby Theater (home to the Academy Awards) and will close on January 19, 2013.
The 90-minute journey employs the now familiar outré Cirque du Soleil branded elements: contortionists, aerialists, acrobats, animatronic camera-like creatures, and a few deranged clowns. What makes Iris fly closer to the sun than most productions is the blended element of projected film.
The production truly soars when mixing live action with projected image. Actors dance across set designer Jean Rabasse’s filmstrip set in choreographed motion, mimicking film frames. Actors in other scenes burst from their projected images onto the stage.
The blurring of screen image with live image is mesmerizing, and aptly underscores the production’s subtitle: A Journey Through the World of Cinema.”
The most arresting act is featured near the top of the show – the Atherton Twins’ duo strap act. The pair soars above the audience, blending, and seemingly merging into one muscular form. The usual words apply to any skilled strap act: beauty, grace, flight. But Andrew and Kevin Atherton, with their synchronized, exquisite perfection, easily touch the ineffable as well.
The show’s main elements traces the evolution of film through a series of tableaus and acts – from cavemen shadow plays, silent film antics and Italian cinema - to film noir and Hollywood blockbusters. Clownish acts are interspersed throughout the show, but in large part deter from the ethereal spell so many of the other performers labor hard to cast.
Danny Elfman’s ambitious score fittingly carries the evening’s emotional color, built around the foundations of Philippe Decouflé writing and direction. Philippe Guillotel designed the 200 costumes, and Olivier Simola and Christophe Waksmann mastered the 20 video projectors.
Read reviews of Iris.