16 October 2014

FESTIVAL: Cirkopolis

Cirque Éloize
10 October 2014
State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne
to 12 October

Cirque Éloize are from Montreal – a city with an international circus school and is home to companies including Cirque du Soliel and 7 Doigts De La Main – and have performed in 440 cities in over 40 countries. They're met with joy, cheers and awards where ever they go and Cirkopolis lives up to the spectacle and how-can-they-do-that expected of this company.

Visually based on Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metrolpolis, it's set in a grey world where grey-coated people are as human as the machines around them. Its striking animated back wall (Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence) of factories and cog-driven machines is enhanced by a lighting design (Nicholas Descoteux) that lets performers and the animation become one.

And with choreographed perfection, physically astonishing performers, and a heart-warming premise that people will always find ways to be themselves and find colour in the grey, there's little to say that it's not wonderful. But this may be it's downfall.

I have a soft spot for this company because their Rain was the first review I wrote for AussieTheatre in 2006 (sorry Creative Director's program notes, it's not the first time they've been to Melbourne). Rain questioned the role of contemporary circus in theatres and answered its own questions by being emotionally compelling and technically wow.

Cirkopolis is outstanding circus that I thoroughly enjoyed, but it feels like a show that's made to tour and never ruffle a feather. It's traditional trick-based circus where the men are strong, the clown's a wuss and the women giggle in pretty dresses and are thrown about by the men in suits. It's not questioning or pushing circus art beyond the expected.

This was on AussieTheatre.com.

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