Cirque Shanghai’s “Cloud 9” a Welcome Diversion

You don’t have to cringe anymore when guests come to town and utter those two words: Navy Pier.

Cirque Shanghai is coming to the entertainment rescue with “Cloud 9.”

Living close to downtown affords us the opportunity to treat our guests, and therefore ourselves, to all the city has to offer the tourist crowd. Navy Pier has long held the top spot on our “Been There, Done That” list, but the kids still love it, so we made the trek down to check out the Pepsi Skyline Stage’s latest offering.

“Cloud 9” is indeed, a spectacle. It’s a fast-paced, 75-minute display of acrobatic feats made to look so simple that audience members are invited on stage to try a couple—only to find out the easiest-looking tricks are … not. In fact, if you’re thinking, “Oh, I could do that,” then I suggest you try the Bird-Dog-Plank before you go, and remember how hard it is just to balance yourself before you try placing your significant other on top of your head where he or she can stand en pointe. Uh-huh.

The show is all about the acrobatic—no animals here. A welcome reprieve, as I get older and get more and more sqeamish at the ideas of gentle giants such as elephants being harrassed to perform. The feats performed by these humans are no less entertaining, and I can’t count how many times I heard people uttering “Oh they are NOT going to do that!” as more performers climbed on bikes, chairs and on top of each other.

Kids of all ages should be able to sit still for the entire show (re-entry is not allowed once you leave the stage area.) Younger kids will love the dazzling array of costumes (watch out for flying gold fingertips, though—a technical glitch I’m sure will improve with practice.) And older kids will wait anxiously for the motorcycles-in-the-cage mayhem as part of the final act.

“Cloud 9” is a show sure to entertain and is an affordable option for a family outing on the Pier if you’re looking for an alternative to the rides and games and tourist trap-like activities. And don’t forget to grab something to eat—the 2 p.m. show allowed us to grab a late lunch/early dinner at the new Harry Caray’s without having to wait for a table.

Cirque Shanghai: Cloud 9
Pepsi Skyline Stage, Navy Pier
Runs through September 6
$12.50 ages 3 – 12
$14.50 adults

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