Sunday, 1 March 2015

Chapter 67: Cirque Eloize's "Cirkopolis"

"It's fantastic! It makes you happy, surprised, amazed and makes your life full of colour!" 
(Kids' verdict)

Last weekend I also went to see Cirque Eloize's Cirkopolis at the Peacock Theatre, Sadlers Wells,  as a family birthday treat. We had seen their show I.D. there a couple of years ago, a high-octane meditation on urban living, exploring the different tribes we live in with sensational street-style, circus tricks with skipping ropes and BMX bikes and we came out bouncing.

Cirkopolis the people's circus, da?, starts off in a colourless state. A human factory of grey brick and grey trench coats, as though we had stepped into Brazil, the film, not the country. A place of anonymous functionaries and functionality. A man sits at a desk in the Aegean stables of admin, attempting to rubber-stamp an ever-growing pile of forms. Bit by bit, he, along with a dozen or so other mysterious characters rebel against the monochromatic tedium of their existence with spectacular circus skills in flashes of glorious technicolour (so it's not just me then -  see previous post click here) - the red dress in a Cyr wheel,  the mustard-yellow kicking Chinese pole duo, a purple dress splitting her steps atop supporting hands, to name but a few. It is darkly comic, both in terms of humour and the graphic set design (think Metropolis meets shades of Gotham City), while the cast really are multidisciplinary Marvels in the feats they perform.

Without an interval the show propels you forward relentlessly with tricks of contortion, trapeze, juggling and flying off teeter boards until the characters finally succeed in breaking out of their factory settings and into the circus space of a Big Top. The hard-core adrenaline-fuelled moments are counter-balanced with suave instances poetry in motion, such a cliché I know. But had you seen the tour de force on the German wheel, the spinning sighs on the Cyr wheel, the torso on straps or clown Ashley Carr's (former Circus Space student) poignant romance with a coy dress on a coat hanger, you would understand why words fail me.

"Poetry in motion": Léa Toran Jenner on Cyr Wheel

We loved Stéfan Boucher's musical score as well (see the behind-the-scenes video below). "Something chimes in me" indeed, and I highly recommend buying the CD. Having bought the soundtrack to I.D. last time round, we found it really does reinforce the memory of each individual act, and trust me, if you see this show you'll want to prolong the experience. Enjoy!

Note: Cirque Eloize's Cirkopolis has finished its run in London  but is still on tour in the UK until 11 April.
For the tour schedule click here.

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