THEATER: FORGIVE THE MIMES

WITH QUIDAM, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL TRIUMPHS OVER FORMULA--AND TWEENESS--TO DAZZLE ONCE AGAIN

The time is ripe to dump on Cirque du Soleil. This Montreal-based troupe has been an item of import chic since 1987, when it began touring the U.S. with a show called Le Cirque Reinvente. The Cirque style--circus acts (no animals, just humans) with the gloss of stage magic and a mysterioso musical score--is no longer an automatic astonishment; form has congealed into formula. Putting one of its extravaganzas, Mystere, in a Las Vegas casino and planning new shows in Vegas and Walt Disney World are moves that rob Cirque of its old street-theater purity. Then there are all the mimes:...

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