Writer, director and choreographer: Shana Carroll
The world renowned 7 Fingers acrobatic troupe bring their spectacular train and travel themed show to the Brighton Dome to the delight of young and old in the crowd.
The 7 Fingers are a Montreal based collective founded in 2002 by seven circus artists who were looking to redefine the genre and create compelling stories through their medium. They have performed for some of the world’s largest events and shows including olympic ceremonies, the Oscars and Euro 2020.
This show, devised by original Canadian founder member, Shana Carroll, is an exploration into train journeys, the human connections we make as we travel as well as the different reasons people want to leave where they are and why the desire to travel to certain places.
Nine performers begin, seated in a semicircle, breathing as one, mimicking the sound of a train and from there the ensemble spring into action producing crowd pleasing tumbles, twists and spins to the upbeat sounds of mid twentieth century Parisian jazz.
There is no let up in pace for the first few numbers as the cast run and fly into impressive poses and postures, making exquisite group movements together.
A female acrobat shows off her impressive hula hoop skills as the catchy tunes continue and atmospheric wide screen projections (expertly designed by Johnny Ranger) accompany the stunning physical display on stage.
Suddenly a shift in tempo and mood sees hand held spotlights cast their light on stripped down men and twisting bodies, reminiscent of a 1990’s George Michael video. This doesn’t last long, however, as the mood changes again and the crowd are treated to a magnificent aerial silk display moving gracefully at twenty feet above the stage; whoops, cheers and loud applause come from the gathering at every death defying twist, flip and turn.
The group fabricates a train carriage on stage as the video backdrop provides imagery of rolling countryside to emulate the constant movement of the transport and highlight the theme.
Occasionally an actor in the show will come forward and enigmatically pronounce something about travel. Midway through the ninety minutes there is even a discussion about time travel and Einstein’s theory of relativity. These vignettes do not make a particularly clear narrative, it’s best to let the confusion flow over you, but they do create bridges for the audience between fabulous set pieces, allowing the troupe to recoup in between numbers and set up the next astounding feat of physicality for our delight, and there are many of these amazing feats to enjoy.
Exhibited for our pleasure, as the night goes on, is some fabulous club juggling, a breathtaking aerial hoop scene, and some truly wonderful fixed trapeze work, with one female performer being thrown from the ground into the air to be caught by another woman, only by her feet.
Additionally, a male performer traverses vertically up a single thirty foot pole as easily as a regular human would walk up a set of stairs. As well as walking up the pole he hangs off it at forty five degrees, seemingly without effort. It is amazing to see what the human body can do and throughout the performance the crowd are in wonder, producing more oohs and aahs than a Bonfire night fireworks display.
The denouement of the piece does not disappoint as two brave souls perform the Russian Cradle. Here we see, high above the stage, one of the cast standing up and harnessed, swinging, tossing and catching his partner in the most astounding ways. It is a breathtaking finale.
While the narrative content of the show is often woolly, the circus skills, enthusiasm of the team and execution of the show are wonderfully done and most definitely worth a watch.
Reviewed on 1st October
On tour in the UK till 12th October