‘A Magical Cirque Christmas’ brings holiday time-travel narrative to National Theatre

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Magical Cirque Christmas' at National Theatre (Part 1)

Legendary magician David Copperfield called Lucy Darling “a true original — hilarious and delightful. An EXCEPTIONAL new talent in magic.”

Now, performer Carisa Hendrix brings the Darling character to “A Magical Cirque Christmas,” at National Theatre from Dec. 16 through Dec. 18.

“The character is a magical character I’ve been performing for about five years,” performer Carisa Hendrix told WTOP. “I created it based on my inspiration from old-time movies, so Mae West, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eartha Kitt — people like that I thought were really fabulous. That old Hollywood aesthetic is slowly going out of our culture and I’m obsessed with it.”

The fabulous Darling character uses her glitz, glamour and holiday spirit to lead audiences on a magical time-travel narrative that she invented during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, we felt isolated from each other, so we wanted to tell a story about what happens when it doesn’t feel like Christmas,” Hendrix said. The Guardian of Time usually turns a key to start the Christmas season, “but he’s a little too sad this year. The safeguard of the machine is Lucy Darling, who pops out to fix it.”

Amid this storyline, you’ll be dazzled by classic and cutting-edge circus acts.

“Everybody loves a good high-energy juggler, hand-to-hand traditional acrobatics and aerial acts. … Our contortionist does foot archery, so with her feet she has a bow and arrow and she can hit a target — which is incredible, but she invented doing that while suspended hanging from the ceiling.”

The time-travel narrative provides unlimited possibilities for holiday tunes.

“You hear amazing Christmas music from the last 100 years,” Hendrix said. “Mariah Carey, ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’ ‘Underneath the Tree.'” Hendrix raved about singer Audri Bartholomew, a former contestant on “The Voice,” and says “It’s not just a recording you’re sick of hearing at the mall.”

The sets and costumes depict different eras of Christmas: “costumes and visuals from a 1950s Christmas — so, a jukebox and sock-hop outfits. Later, you see a reimagining of the disco era — crazy mirror balls and roller skates with a huge LED screen.”

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Magical Cirque Christmas' at National Theatre (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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