The Volta show was canceled during the first half of the Friday performance after a mechanical problem in the hydraulic system led a hose to break loose, according to Cirque du Soleil.
Cirque du Soleil will reimburse all audience members – including those sprayed with vegetable oil – from Friday night’s opening and abrupt cancellation of its show at Marymoor Park in Redmond.
The Volta show was canceled during the first half of the 8 p.m. performance after a mechanical problem in the hydraulic system led a hose to break loose, spewing “some vegetable-based oil” onto the stage and onto some people in the audience, Cirque du Soleil said in a statement Saturday.
“These audience members were escorted outside the Big Top by Cirque du Soleil employees and offered assistance,” according to the statement. “No one was injured by the incident and the oil posed no risk for the health of the guests or the employees. We apologize for this incident.”
Two off-duty deputies with the King County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the venue Friday night but found no serious injuries, according to spokeswoman Sgt. Cynthia Sampson.
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Jonathan Fay, who was sitting four rows from the front, said the 8 p.m. show was 30 to 45 minutes in when the liquid sprayed the audience.
“There was suddenly a huge plume that looked like a steam effect,” Fay said. “It went out into the audience and went pretty far back, dozens of rows. The first one was almost like vapor and then there was a spray that looked like water at first.”
Fay said that when the stagehands came out, their feet began slipping.
“They instantly lost their balance and looked like they were ice skating,” he said.
Cirque du Soleil said in its statement that all guests of the canceled show would receive a reimbursement. It’s unclear if Friday’s mechanical problem will affect future performances.
In more serious incidents, some Cirque du Soleil employees have been killed while working in recent years, according to news reports.
The most recent, 38-year-old acrobat Yann Arnaud, a 15-year member of the company, died March 17 after he dropped 20 feet onto a stage during the Volta show in Tampa.
Staff reporters Agueda Pacheco-Flores and Heidi Groover contributed to this report.