(photo credit: PR)
Following the success of his previous show, iD, Cirque Eloize CEO/artistic director Jeannot Painchaud has teamed up with choreographer Dave St-Pierre to create another gem in Cirkopolis.
The show starts off with a nod to Kafka as well as to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil – a character (Ashley Carr) with his back turned to us has to stamp papers for a bureaucracy. As he works people walk on by and just keep piling paper higher and higher. It is a futuristic world, reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent movie, Metropolis (which probably inspired its title), including scenes that show men and women stomping around in fedoras and trench coats, bustling back and forth in some steampunk daily grind (steam whistles, whirring gears and exposed pipes feature heavily in the background).
Acts range from vaudeville comedic miming, to mass group juggling sessions involving rotating on spinning chairs, to pole-balancing, flips, cartwheels and acrobatics.
The 12 member Quebec-based troupe use ropes, trapeze, a Chinese pole, teeter-board (for tumbling), German wheel (like a hamster wheel), in a variety of different acts that are pretty astonishing to behold.
The set is a simple backdrop that uses filmed projections to make us believe we are in the city. During some of the numbers, we zoom through buildings or tunnels, giving us the feeling of moving through space. It’s very well done.
The music also shifts gears with each act – from techno-jazz to progressive rock to French cafe ballad.
There are many highlights: the mesmerizing Angelica Bongiovonni twirling provocatively on the Cyr wheel; the subtle clowning of Carr as he falls in love with a woman’s filmy dress hanging on a clothes rack and dances acrobatically with it.
Another highlight was the Chinese pole routine in which the acrobats defied gravity in holding themselves at right angles to the pole and sliding headlong to the floor, stopping centimeters from a nasty accident. The audience was on the edge of their seats, gasping every time it seemed they would fall.
If I had to describe this show in one word, it would be “charming.”
For a show with such a seemingly dark theme it is not morbid at all, but actually quite joyous and uplifting in the end. Cirkopolis is a thoroughly enjoyable show.Cirque Eloize’s Cirkopolis runs today through October 25 at Tel Aviv Opera House. For tickets visit www.eventim.co.il.