Grandpa Felicius: Let it not said that old P. T. Barnum did not appreciate a pleasant melody, but he never quite took the circus act all the way to its obvious operatic extreme. Cirque du Soleil tried to do just that. They may be a nefarious Franco-Canadian organization whose evil intentions have not yet been fully exposed, but I have to admit to enjoying “Paramour,” the Cirque’s first Broadway musical- which may also be their last, judging by the fact it flopped worse than a fat acrobat landing belly first on a concrete mat. So goes for gems hurled before Philistine swines! “Paramour” is a grand tale of Hollywood hearts, set to a triumphant Big Band Beat that filled my own old palpitating ticker with fond memories of waiting by my gigantic Philco to hear Benny Goodman, Ziggy Elman, and that rascal Tommy Dorsey.
Director Philipe Decoufle imported some concepts from another movie-themed Cirque show, “Iris,” for what’s a delightfully uncomplicated tale of AJ (Jeremy Kushnier), a “Hollywood Wiz” director in the Cecil B. DeMille mold; Joey, (Ryan Vona), a starving young artist who values integrity over money (the fool!); and their mutual love interest, Indigo (Ruby Lewis), the ginger-topped girl from Indiana who is destined for stardom… if her heart and mind don’t interfere first.
Oh, and while they ponder their love triangle, as befits a Cirque du Soleil spectacle, there’s a million astonishing performers flying all around the stage for the very compelling reason that gravity is a bore.
Hank: “Paramour” may not have been more than a cute romance with toe-tapping tunes, but you know what? If the Picksherry family is going to break the piggy bank for a Broadway escapade, I’ll rather sit through a cute romance with toe-tapping tunes, than have to struggle to get impossible tickets for a certain over-hyped, overpriced, self-important, self-congratulatory, preachy musical with a heavy-handed message and a smug, untalented lead. Yeah, that’s right, I said it! Screw you, “Matilda”! I’m not afraid to take on the sacred cows!
Beatricia: I believe Child Services closed “Matilda” ages ago. As for “Paramour,” there’s some smiles to be had from old-timey tunes like “Ginger Top,” “Something More,” and “Honeymoon Days of Fame.” There’s a more modern song too, “The Dream,” sung by Katrina Cunningham, that wouldn’t even feel like too much of an impostor if it snuck into an album by Ellie Goulding or Halsey.
Cousin Franz: It’s almost mean to point out that there isn’t a note on the score or a line on the libretto for “Paramour” that wasn’t an embarrassing cliche back when Rodgers and Hart were first learning to tickle ivories. “Being good” is just not what “Paramour” is aiming for.
Tracey: …Is it just me, or have we been doing a lot of circusy stuff lately?
Trent: When I have my own cirque, “Le Gringo Dingo Skarr Cirque and Zoologique,” I will allow none of those Andrew-Lloyd-Webber-wannabe showtunes. And if I catch one of my hired freaks having an emotional “Hunchback of Notre Dame” “Out There” moment, that’s when I fire them out of the cannon into the unemployment line.
Blurbarella: “I– Am– Auditioning For– “Metropolis the Musical.”– Dinner Theater Version”
“Bring in the ‘Bots/ Lovable ‘Bots/
Some round, some phallic/ But mostly metallic/ like pots
Bring in the ‘Bots/
Those sunny, funny ‘Bots./
Some faded, some shiny/ Some big, and some tiny/ like dots.
Bring in the ‘Bots/
Those Laser, Phaser ‘Bots./
Rusty and outdated/ Or just generated/ like tots./
But where are the ‘Bots?/
Bring in the ‘Bots.
Don’t bother, the humans have already been eliminated.”
3 out of 6 Cherries