Saw this show three times this weekend. Before you read anything else, I want to say the best way to experience this show is fresh and free from spoilers. Some of the wonder of the show results from the surprise of events unfolding within the show.
So be warned, spoilers ahoy! I have thoughts:
We open on a shot of a spacecraft touching down on an alien planet. At this point the comedy immediately starts, with selfie and "spacebook" jokes aplenty—even a nutshot. It quickly establishes that the Earth-born explorers are dumb, vain and weirdly fascistic/colonialist in mannerisms. This wraps up and turns into a really cool BMX segment, with all sorts of flips and tricks. We then meet the aliens, who are really quite delightful. They have a language which feels real—but incomprehensible—and attempt to make peaceful contact with the humans before hostilities quickly escalate.
After chasing the humans off, we get the talent show portion, which begins on a remarkably high note. Acrobats do a duo act involving tumbling off each other's bodies at incredible speeds and impossible angles. It was a really beautiful, triumphant act. We then cut back to our spaceman running from guards on hoverboards (the two wheeled powered scooters)—because hoverboards are cool and alien in 2019?
The next act is some sort of alien security chief doing a laser act. It was disappointing to see in a cirque show, as it isn't... physically remarkable in any way. It's the sort of thing you see on the first night of America's Got Talent. There was even some technical glitches, which I'm sure will be worked out over time. It was neat, but not Cirque neat.
Next is a rope trapeze act, which has some great death-defying drops in it, and is really exciting. I didn't care for the aggressive trip-hop with French Lyrics which plays over the act. It doesn't really move the plot of the show forward.
The show culminates in the spacemen getting caught and captured, and it turns out—naturally—that is was all a "misunderstanding" stemming from the nature of colonialism and that the aliens are friendly, but don't want the humans taking things from their planet. They have a party and do trampoline tricks to end the show, similar to Origins. They all say goodbye, and the humans leave back for Earth.
Okay, plot synopsis done—let's dig into the meta-text. The show is clearly about contrasting the true nature of exploration and colonialism with the heroic-aura which we attribute to great explorers. While the protagonist of the plot is the captain of a great expedition to the far ends of the galaxy, he is a bumbling self-concerned buffoon, which has clearly gotten to this position by means of charisma and not actual merit. This is affirmed by his inability to communicate effectively with the aliens, and his choice to instead resort immediately to violence.
The aliens themselves are remarkable. Their body and vocal language is full of symbol and character. There is a hierarchy within their society, possibly associated with the color of their skin, although there isn't segregation strictly speaking. There's also something to do with gold rings that signifies status or honor which I haven't quite worked out yet. The interaction of the aliens and human takes the opportunity to be both confused and wondrous.
Gravity is a really wonderful cirque show which sadly looms in the shadow of the remarkable Origins which came before it. Origins had a remarkable, uplifting message about the perseverance of life, and the hope that buoyes us all. Origins also had more remarkable, breathtaking acts. If it's not obvious, I'd still recommend seeing Gravity—I will many more times. It remains by far the best live entertainment at Kings Dominion and possibly in any park.