Directors: Jeannot Painchaud and Dave St Pierre
Choreographer: Dave St Pierre
Composer: Stefan Boucher
Reviewer: Lu Greer
Cirkopolis, from the Montreal based troupe Cirque Éloize sold-out audiences across 50 countries before making its way to Norwich. Proclaiming the ability to challenge the limits of gravity and perform jaw-dropping feats against a backdrop of video projections, the theatre saw a packed house of all ages waiting to see just what this circus could offer, and if it would be more than one or two high flying gimmicks.
What we get from this show doesn’t disappoint; what we get, at times, transcends the label of ‘circus’. Through a range of jugglers, contortionists, Cyr-wheel artists and more the story is told of the realities of a grey and industrialised city trying to destroy the soul of artists, and how it can all be turned on its head. This is achieved particularly seamlessly with the lighting from Nicolas Descoteaux, which transports us from the monotone nine to five and into the world of the circus and the use of costumes (Liz Vandal) which colour the world in purples and reds.
The entire cast is excellent, and the ensemble pieces at times breath-taking as the in sync movements work together to tell the story. Among the performers there are certainly some standouts, particularly from Dominique Bouchard’s clowning which frequently demonstrates exemplary timing and during his solo dance with a coat rack gives a whole scope of emotion through wanting, despair, and happiness which is genuinely affecting for the audience. On the more visually spectacular, and moving, aspects of the show comes from Anna Lewandowska with the cyr wheel which becomes less of a circus act and more of a graceful dance.
There are moments when the narrative seems to judder and lose its course in order to accommodate some tricks, and while the video projection background does add to the scenes its use for transitions does feel a little outdated in parts.
The days of clowns falling over themselves, sorry looking animals, and a screeching ring master have gone, but circus itself has not. With this show Cirkopolis stakes its claim as one of the leaders of circus, turning it from simply a spectacle into a genuine art.
Runs Until: 14 October 2018 | Image: Contributed