‘TWAS The Night Before by Cirque du Soleil – Northrup Auditorium – Minneapolis MN – November 24th 2023

Review by Tracy Hansen

Cirque du Soleil is a world-renowned live entertainment company recognized for its unique and innovative circus performances. Founded in Quebec, Canada, in 1984 by Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix, Cirque du Soleil has grown into a global phenomenon, captivating audiences worldwide with its mesmerizing blend of acrobatics, theater, dance, music, and elaborate costumes.

We’ve seen a few of these together, with Kyle seeing others separately.  We both saw “Zarkana” in New York back in 2011, as well as one prior to that.  Kyle saw “The Beatles Love” in Las Vegas alone, as several with his family prior to dating me.

What sets Cirque du Soleil apart is its departure from traditional circus acts, incorporating artistic storytelling, original music compositions, and incredible choreography into its shows. The productions often feature a combination of extraordinary feats of athleticism, aerial performances, contortion, juggling, and other circus arts performed by exceptionally skilled artists from diverse backgrounds.

Each Cirque du Soleil show typically revolves around a central theme or storyline.  “…Twas the Night Before” is clearly about Christmas.  The main story revolves around a father and daughter and the reading of “The Night Before Christmas” poem.

What I feel set this Cirque du Soleil apart from others I have both heard about and seen, is how family friendly it is.  This is in a number of ways.  For one, the the runtime was much shorter than usual. Sitting at eighty minutes with no intermission, that runs much shorter than the average two and a half hours with an intermission. That was something that upset a number of people in the audience, as I heard them complaining upon leaving.  However, I feel it’s perfect for a family themed show.

Back to that, the show itself really packs the holiday cheer.  It’s so bright and colorful.  There was almost a Dr. Suess vibe going on at a few points, especially with the “Here Comes Santa Claus” segment.  There were less acrobatics than usual, but I blame that on a shorter runtime.  You can only pack so much into a shorter period of time.
The audience demographics were across the board. I watch so many parents with little kids dressed up come in.  Then there were adults aged anywhere from their twenties to their sixties.  While I did hear some complaints that this wasn’t your average Cirque du Soleil, I feel you need to expect that.  It’s Christmas based and it’s family friendly.  It simply won’t be the same as the others in that case.
Would I recommend it to others?  Certainly.  Would I recommend it to parents.  Maybe.  Depending on your child, it’s possible they may get bored or simply not understand what it going on.  I felt like if I was little enough seeing it, as an adult, I would look back and think, “I saw this crazy colorful show when I was little…”
All photos provided by Hennipen Theater Trust