A digitally enhanced marsh forms the backdrop for Cirque du Soleil's latest big-top spectacular, a whimsical look at evolution that's more art than science. Directed by Robert Lepage (who also helmed in Las Vegas), the show traces humanity's evolution from our simian ancestors to modern man. At opening, performers leapfrog around a turtle's carapace — a nod to the tortoise's significance in several creation myths — before whizzing onto the parallel bars and flinging themselves out of prehistoric muck onto land. Humanity takes flight then, soaring through the air via suspended rings, somersaulting onto springy planks no wider than a balance beam and dangling from a fixed trapeze. Some of the top acts include a masterful unicycle precision team and a mesmerizing foot juggling duo wearing Lycra bodysuits studded with 3,500 crystals apiece. (Kym Barrett designed the costumes, a mosaic of seasonal themes and cultures from Bollywood to the Mayans.) Carl Fillion's versatile set and Pedro Pires' projections integrate beautifully, evoking landscapes both terrestrial and celestial. Occasionally we take a break from the action to observe a Darwinian doppelganger pondering earth's mysteries. Creationists might grumble but this production bursts with wonder at mankind's feats. Cirque du Soleil, Port of Los Angeles, Berth 46, 3011 S. Miner St., San Pedro; Fri.-Sat., 4:30 & 8 p.m. (no 4:30 p.m. performance Nov. 8); Sun., 1 & 4:30 p.m.; Thurs., Oct. 24, 8 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; through Nov. 10. cirquedusoleil.com.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 4:30 p.m.; Tue., Oct. 15, 8 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 16, 8 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 17, 8 p.m.; Fridays, 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 4:30 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 23, 8 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 24, 8 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 30, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Oct. 11. Continues through Nov. 10, 2013

LA Weekly