BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
OFF BROADWAY REVIEW
More than half a million people saw “Zarkana” at Radio City Music Hall last summer and it’s likely that another half million will catch this year’s encore edition of the Cirque du Soleil show, since the moody spectacle remains a genuine crowd-pleaser for the whole darned family.
Returning to the Music Hall last week, “Zarkana” still doesn’t make much sense story-wise (even by Cirque du Soleil standards), but who cares, since writer-director Francois Girard expertly dishes out a dozen exciting, even thrilling, circus acts performed in eye-popping circumstances.
That awesome Wheel of Death sequence had me screaming along with everybody else. The talent and consummate skill of all of the circus artists is impressive, but the daredevil bravado shown by Carlos Martin and Junior Delgado as they cavort upon this whirling centrifugal contraption is something sick.
Other highlights include the hand-balancing arabesques of an incredibly limber Anatoly Zalevskiy, the confident aerial teamwork displayed by the trapeze troupe and the brute strength exhibited by the muscular Banquine acrobats.
Acres of creepy-cool Steampunk-esque décor enhance the show’s gothic goings-on with a vast spider web for the trapeze act, a proscenium of twisting snakes for the Russian Bar routine and similar surreal atmospherics attending everything else.