Well, the Cirque du Soleil seems to have finally given the hook to the troubled Banana Shpeel.
The Quebec circus powerhouse's new vaudeville-inspired show, which finishes its critically unacclaimed Toronto run this weekend, will not go move on to San Francisco as originally planned
This week, Cirque announced it has cancelled Shpeel's scheduled run at the Golden Gate Theatre that was supposed to begin Oct. 16 and go to Nov. 14. In an e-mail, a Cirque spokeperson tells me that "the San Francisco performances of Banana Shpeel have been cancelled in order to re-evaluate the tour plan to determine the appropriate next steps."
In other words, while I suppose Banana Shpeel could rise again in another form, it sounds like they are finally euthanizing the show that flopped in The Windy City last fall, then the Big Apple this spring and was dubbed "one of the most frustrating failures in Cirque's history" by the New York Times.
Good on Cirque for trying something new. But perhaps they should have given up on Banana Shpeel just a little earlier rather than dent its hitherto iron-clad reputation in Toronto. As Christopher Hoile wrote in his review of the show a couple of weeks ago, "To remain creative, a company needs to experiment; this experiment just doesn't work out. It would be better for Cirque du Soleil to withdraw Banana Shpeel than flog it on tour and endanger its reputation."
They seem to have figured that out.