REVIEW: La Nouba

A Cirque du Soleil show is an experience. The sounds, sights and overall feel of the show leaves you with memories of more than just the acts. From the concession stands and the boutique to the clowns and the acts, attending a Cirque show is a memorable experience. The La Nouba show in Orlando, Florida is all of this and more. I was fortunate to be able to see La Nouba for the first time on a recent trip to Orlando and it was truly an experience.

La Nouba is different from most Cirque shows in that it is housed in a permanent theatre in Disney Springs at Disney World. The theatre still has the same feel as their circus tent with a swooping roof that looks like the top of a tent. The permanent theatre provides the opportunity for Cirque to create a feeling for guests that begins even when they are walking to the theatre.  Located at the end of the Disney Springs area, guests walk up to the theatre across a large plaza from which they can either enter the Cirque boutique which is an experience for circus fans all by itself, or walk up the stairways to the theatre entrance.

Although the Cirque boutique is not officially part of the show, the excitement from people walking around the boutique before the show added an element of expectation for the evening performance. Once you enter the main doors on the second level, you are immediately immersed in the feeling of Cirque. The walls are lined with photos of famous performers and every detail of the concourse is designed to give you the feeling of being in a Cirque theatre. Even the popcorn and drink containers are themed for the La Nouba show.

Walking into the main theatre takes your breath away.  A four-story high stage with a semi-circle of seats in front of it divided by an aisle going around the whole theatre.  Unlike the travelling tents in which most people view Cirque shows, the permanent theatre allows Cirque to create a multi-level stage with a main performance area and multiple levels on either side for performers to appear during the main acts.

The pre-show clowns at La Nouba did not disappoint.  They interacted with the crowd throughout the theatre using a birthday party theme as the way to interact with each other and with the customers.  The clowns created a great feeling for the show as they introduced the breaking of a piñata as a theme they would then continue throughout the show.

The show starts with the Cleaning Lady who goes to clean the attic, but meets characters who have been long forgotten and want to tell their stories. The show has several main characters that show up intermittently and tell their tales. Specialty acts serve as the main pieces of the show. The show doesn’t feature as many aerial acts as some of their other shows, but they make up for it by using unique ground acts. Breakdancing, diabolos, and cycling served as the ground acts. Aerial bamboo and aerial cradle added some unique apparatus to the show. However, some less unique acts were also incorporated, but these acts did not disappoint: an effortless fabric piece, a thrilling rola bola and juggling act, an amazing synchronized flying trapeze act, and a high energy power track routine.

The permanent theatre allows for special touches to be made. Platforms can be raised a story off the ground to allow for performers to appear and disappear as well as served for the platform for the trampoline performers. The building allows for a more complex backdrop; a track runs halfway up the wall and different machines slide across the back during acts with performers on them.

Cirque was able to suspend the audience’s disbelief once again, and succeeded in putting on another stunning show that proved to be better than you could ever imagine. Overall, La Nouba is a mesmerizing show that is a crowd pleaser for both young and old.

– Em

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