Cirque Éloize was created and founded in Montreal in 1993 — so it stands to reason that the latest show from the leader in contemporary circus arts is exclusively in residence at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth. Their newest venture, Celeste, is a unique cabaret show in the heart of Montreal that thrusts spectators into an immersive experience that's equal parts live music, circus acts and illusion.
Similar to a Las Vegas residency, the partnership will see Cirque Éloize team up with the legendary Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth to create an entertainment hub that relaunches downtown Montreal’s arts and tourism scene. The performances will take place in the 200-seat Agora and Centre-Ville rooms on the ground floor of Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth.
Back in December, I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the show and chat with some of the cast about Celeste. Unfortunately, due to increased restrictions in December, the show was postponed — but now that indoor event venues are reopening, Celeste will be performing to audiences from February 17, 2022.
Themed around the night and the stars, the show features juggling, Cyr wheel acts and bilingual music performed by Coral Egan (in a spectacularly sparkly pink number) on stage, while other artists mill around the guests in the event space. Formerly a home for corporate gatherings, the rooms have been transformed into a chic boudoir affair with cozy sofas, drapes and lamps dotted around a moodily-lit set.
Joseph De Paul, the emcee for the show, says that he is looking forward to breaking the fourth wall in this immersive piece of theatre: "What I find interesting about this task is that I'm sliding between mysticism and comedy... I really enjoy making direct contact with the audience. Whenever there's real contact and real conversation with the audience, it feels very live and so many more jokes come out of it."
Though the company has been touring for 29 years, this is the first permanent show for Cirque Éloize, whose headquarters and creative studio are located in Old Montreal, inside the former Dalhousie Station. With ongoing travel restrictions, the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to put on a show like Celeste, and what started as a survival tactic has become a lifelong dream — the company's first-ever residency show.
Make it a Montreal mini-break with a stay at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, home to breathtaking views, mouthwatering food and drink spots like Nacarat bar and Rosélys restaurant, a stunning wellness centre with indoor pool, plus the famous John Lennon suite where the Beatle and Yoko Ono staged one of their Bed-Ins for Peace.