Le Noir – The Dark Side of Cirque in Adelaide

Le Noir - The Dark Side of Cirque [image supplied]
Le Noir – The Dark Side of Cirque [image supplied]
My hand is getting better now and I have picked up my jaw from the floor of the Festival Theatre. The strength of my wife’s tense grip on my hand through this jaw dropping spectacle surprised me, but not as much as this astounding performance did.

The Festival Theatre was specially adapted so that the audience could watch from 360 degrees. On a small, specially built round stage, these sensuous, athletic, and gasp-producing acts were made intimately visible to all, especially those in seats on the stage, breathtakingly close to the action.

If you are a frequenter of cirque acts, you will have seen the like of many of these acts before, but this time they are dressed (or perhaps more accurately, undressed) in progressively brief costumerie, colour coded into a white, red then black themed sequence, as they became increasingly sensual, mind-boggling and frankly dangerous.

No matter how familiar some may be with the genre and the inevitable sense of athletics-meets-classical ballet which much of it demands, the amazing muscular control, the feats of balance, bodily flexibility, coordination and sheer strength that is displayed by this troupe are undeniable.

The contortions of Elena Gatilova in, on and around a hoop suspended metres above the stage, the strength and balance of Anna Ostepenko on three sticks, and the frightening rapidity of the various intertwining of Dasha Shelest and Vadym Pankevych on the silk slings are early examples.

[pull_left]it is the talent, daring, focus, concentration, trust, athleticism and sheer ability of the remarkable performers that force one to applaud hard[/pull_left]

Beyond strength and skill comes extraordinary trust, without which such acts would be impossible, such as is shown between Jeronimo Ernesto and Jessica Ritchie as he spins her around on skates at lightning speed, inches from the floor. Again this trust and intimacy is paramount in the trapeze act, and when Emilie Fournier is literally thrown around in the air like a sack by Alexandre Lane.

Absolute strength is combined with balance and trust by two hulks (Valeri Tsvetkov and Yani Stoyanov) in a further demonstration of what the human body can be capable of. Seemingly impossible balance is achieved by Gediminas Pavlovicius in his Rolla Bolla act, and the gasps are topped off by Carlos Macias and Angelo Rodriguez counterbalancing each other inside and outside of two revolving giant cylinders, and doing insane things as they spin in the “Wheel of Death”.

In between the acts, the MC managed to develop enthusiastic audience involvement and crowd control, some of his segments going a bit too long. His best bit was disappearing inside an enormous red balloon. There was a lot of erotic writhing by scantily dressed dancers as scenes and equipment changed, which matched and focussed the sensuality of some of the acts, so that one could wonder whether the implied sexuality might overshadow the athleticism and ability being demonstrated.

Beyond the visible performance was a technical achievement of coordination of lighting and sound that was similarly executed with considerable talent, although at times there was bit much glare straight into audience eyes, however, which is distracting and unpleasant. Music by Julian Wiggins is loud, but not inappropriately so.

Notwithstanding any minor deficiencies, it is the talent, daring, focus, concentration, trust, athleticism and sheer ability of the remarkable performers that force one to applaud hard, how ever mashed the hands may be from the steel-like grip of an entranced wife.

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