Cirque du Soleil Takes on Hollywood’s Golden Age

Martin Charrat, Myriam Deraiche, and Samuel William Charlton in Cirque du Soleil’s new musical “Paramour.” | RICHARD TERMINE
Martin Charrat, Myriam Deraiche, and Samuel William Charlton in Cirque du Soleil’s new musical “Paramour.” | RICHARD TERMINE

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | “Paramour” is a musical, or, more accurately what the French would call un spectacle. It’s a Cirque du Soleil musical, and it is like what you would see at the Folies Bergères, but all sparkly and new. The story is a cobbled together, conventional tale of Hollywood in its Golden Age — a young starlet, a love triangle, and so forth. The music is derivative and almost completely pastiche, and there are circus acts in almost every scene. As a result virtually every song is a production number, and it comes at you like a tsunami of entertainment.

Musical theater purists may scoff; so let them. If you enjoy traditional Cirque du Soleil shows, this gives you all that and a level of showbiz kitsch and glitz that is so over-the-top that the only appropriate response is to sit back and have fun. Plus the performers and the acts are really good, from twin aerialists sailing over the audience to a rooftop chase that’s a trampoline extravaganza. It’s all pretty dazzling. And it’s hilarious to watch members of the cast, during a torch song, turn a speakeasy’s light fixtures into a trapeze act.

In addition to expected Cirque performers, the cast includes Jeremy Kushnier as A.J., a well established film director, Ruby Lewis as Indigo, the young starlet (who looks very much like Rita Hayworth, oddly one of the few Hollywood stars not cited), and Ryan Vona as Joey, her boyfriend who faces competition from A.J. They all look and sound great and make the nonsensical storyline appealing. And they know how to get out of the way of flying bodies.

The direction by Philippe Decouflé and overall creative direction by Jean-François Bouchard hold nothing back in the cause of entertaining. Any attempt at serious theatrical criticism of “Paramour” would just be pretentious. So take all your out-of-town friends, have a blast, and call it a guilty pleasure.

PARAMOUR | Lyric Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St. | Mon.-Tue., Thu. at 7:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat. at 3 p.m.; Sun. at 2 & 7 p.m. | $55-$227.50 at ticketmaster.com or 877.255.2929 | Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission