BARBU, A nearly-no-spoilers review

I wasn't able to get to the photocall and images of the show aren't yet available. Photo by David Jensen.

I wasn’t able to get to the photocall and images of the show aren’t yet available. Photo by David Jensen.

The Lowdown

Crammed with consummate athletic control, great gags, badass balancing acts and a medley of apposite music, BARBU (bearded) is a synthesis of Canadian circus fun.

From the whirligig roller-skated whizz of a four-man-train where each pulls the next by his beard, to the cream-pie finale, BARBU delivers classic circus acts with humorous twists, personal touches and dead-pan delivery. What really made it for me wasn’t the musicality of the performers, the communication between each individual, or even the way they changed pace without letting go of the audience’s attention, but that these artists clearly gel as a group.

This is circus as it should be, played – in all senses of the word –by people at the top of their game who clearly love what they do.

Expect

Feats of awe-inspiring strength and coordination alongside great comedic timing and electro-trad music.

Mini-exclusives

André Gagné, Musician; “Yes, we know what time, for example 8 or 6/8, we are playing to, but we communicate all the time. Sometimes the communication is between musicians, sometimes with the performers on stage.”

Francis Roberge, Acrobat; “I have been with these guys for 3 years now. It gets so you don’t need the signals, you can tell from their expressions, their eyes.”

“The big things [choreographies] we know, of course, we have practiced them. Like you know how many people will hit the floor or when, or what the signs are for the see-saw. But the little things, they change all the time. You don’t know exactly what people will do, or the jokes they make, or whether they will drop something. That is what makes it alive.”

Alain Francoeur, Director; “This isn’t the whole thing. We cut this by an hour. It took 3 months working as a company to put this together. Before that we had ideas, then we talked, then we see if it works and improve it and then put it [all] together.”

With Alain Francoeur, Director of Cirque Alfonse. Camphone shot by Sarah Lee.

With Alain Francoeur, Director of Cirque Alfonse. Camphone shot by Sarah Lee.

Hints

Get there early – seating is largely unallocated.

Projections on screens around the Spiegeltent are intrinsic to the performance. So is the programme.

Check beneath your seats

Does it meet the hype, would I recommend it and would I go again?

Yes. Definitely. Probably.

 

More images below, by popular request