ZAIA has now closed in Macau (February 2012). Instead, why not try the award winning, action packed House of Dancing Water show at the nearby City of Dreams casino.
ZAIA has not only established itself as Macau’s must see show but has drawn crowds well beyond its standard fare of weary eyed casino refuges. Unlike punters in Las Vegas those in Macau don’t have a program of shows to flick through and pick when in town so the arrival of Cirque du Soleil has made waves and brought crowds in from across the region. But with so little competition is this a bargain basement imitation, a cut price copy looking to cash in on the prestigious Cirque name? Visitors to the region need only look as far as Hong Kong Disneyland for an example of a cash cow copy that falls far short of the original. Tickets aren’t cheap so read our review of ZAIA below to see if the clowns and cartwheels are up to scratch.
Review of ZAIA
The ZAIA story will certainly be familiar to Cirque fans – it’s hardly revolutionary. The show takes its name after lead protagonist ZAIA. She has a hankering to explore space; a journey which unsurprisingly turns into a voyage of self-discovery where she encounters her alien soul mate. It’s something we can all relate too. As with all Cirque du Soleil shows, the story is little more than an excuse for acrobats, dancers and clowns to strut their stuff. There is no dialogue and even the songs are sung in an invented language. If you’re looking for a good tale, you’ll be disappointed; this is no show stopping, tear jerking Broadway musical. Arguably this is the most disappointing thing about the show; it feels very disjointed. The individual acts don't really fold together as a whole and it’s very hard to really get a sense of what’s going on. In fairness this is true of most Cirque du Soleil shows where the focus has always been on the performance.
While it might make less sense than a Charlie Sheen interview, ZAIA does excel is in the performances. True to their circus origins there are gymnasts, trapeze artists and fire breathers, mixed in with ballet, hip hop and breakdancing. Set inside a 1800 seat, purpose built auditorium, no expense has been spared on the costumes or sets and the scale and ambition of the show is breathtaking with dozens of dancers and acrobats bursting across stage simultaneously. Equally ambitious is the choreography with some magnificent set pieces and truly dynamite stunts, including some heart stopping jumps around a suspended aerial frame. As incredible as some of the acts are there are lulls in the ninety minute performance, such as the extended dance sequences, and you’ll be hard pressed to suppress a yawn.
It’s unfortunate that ZAIA is billed as a show because it’s a little misleading; not much hangs the thread of the story together. It’s shame because as a performance it’s dramatic, stirring and at times moving, but if you aren’t into dancers and acrobats, you won’t be into ZAIA. Those that are will be sure fire fans and even those who have seen other Cirque du Soleil shows are likely to leave impressed.