Another year’s Luminato has come and now gone, raising the question of just how brightly this new(ish) festival’s star is shining.
Fairly strongly, it turns out.
Though this year’s instalment was, like its predecessors, something of a mixed bag, the ambitious, thoughtful, and whimsical outweighed the ill-conceived and the overwrought by a comfortable margin. Luminato has been lauded and criticized in equal measure for its eclecticism: the question of whether it’s too scattershot to have a cohesive identity has been dogging the festival for all of its young life. Fortunately (for them and us), this was the year that we decided to just stop caring and embrace the notion that cohesion isn’t everything. Maybe Luminato still is (and always will be) a bit of a jumble, but Toronto could do with having a bit more carnival in its life.
Luminato seems to fare best in its most ambitious moments—the headline acts almost all lived up to their advance buzz, while many of the smaller or more experimental works did not. (Perhaps unexpectedly, we’d put the Cirque du Soleil performances in this latter category. Though clearly a huge name, the act itself was fairly modest in scope, and one of Canada’s greatest troupes would have been better served by reaching for something grander.) This may be a helpful hint for the future: Luminato programmers do marquee very, very well, and given their relatively large size and relatively deep pockets, they may want to consider focusing on serving as Toronto’s A-list art impresario.
With word that the festival has drawn in its biggest crowds yet, it seems clear that Toronto, despite some initial hesitation, is warming up to the whole notion of a multi-dimensional high(ish)-art party. We are, most of the time, happily amongst the revellers.