The last Cirque du Soleil show in NYC, Banana Shpeel, was a mixed-bag attempt to do a Broadway-style musical with a plot and a through line.
But with Zarkana — at Radio City Music Hall — they’ve gone back to their formula of just stringing together a bunch of daredevil acts along with squeaking wackos and shticking clowns, and that’s through line enough.
The visuals are arresting (especially the weird singing baby and the giant pretzel), the performers are agile and very brave, and the clown who flies over the audience while holding up his phone number is almost as funny as he thinks he is.
Alas, they pump some kind of scented smoke into the air that made me queasy — and so did the shoulder-padded troubadour (above) who kept boringly singing about his lost love.
But Act 2 soars thanks to the amazing sand-art lady — I’m not joking — and a spectacular number done with a spider web, just to rub it in.
Clearly, Zarkana spelled backward is “anarchic fun — don’t razz.”