Breath-taking, Blizzard produced by Flip Fabrique from Quebec, is so much more than a circus show. It is pure poetry. Not only aerial dance, acrobatics and all you would expect, its wonderful music and story-line about winter and snow will blow you away, not just for adults but children too.
Blizzard... will blow you away
Howling wind, dry ice and blizzard-like snow create atmosphere. We are warned by voice-over of extreme weather conditions and how we will have the urge to pull on warm socks during the show. This is only one example of the blend of drama and humour. An enormous box, the only set, is moved about, creating many, imaginative spaces. To the sound of footsteps crunching snow, a girl in white leotard appears on top of an enormous box only to somersault into the arms of a man below and so begins hundreds of whirling acrobatics as the large cast of strong males and two sylph-like females perform intricate routines, leaping on or over each other, rising and falling, twisting in the air, the whole cast moving forward in a wave then retreating in tandem with whoever is performing. And all to the amazing music performed on stage by Ben Nesrallah on an upright piano, adding effects from an electronic board inside the piano. Romantic duets and crazy comedic turns are accompanied by Ben, by beautiful melodic pieces, then crazy honky-tonk.
The most spell-binding sequence is the aerial dance hanging from silken ropes performed by a male and female. Moments like these are when circus turns into ballet, with the sheer beauty of the exquisite moves, seemingly effortless, though we know it is dangerous and requires great strength and trust between the artistes. The rest of the cast pull ropes in the background, contributing to the illusion that they are on an Arctic ship. The story-line is never forgotten.
Cleverly these slow, romantic sections are followed by fast-moving somersaults and juggling, memorably with snow balls and snow shovels, plus comedic turns like the clown-like William Jutras who becomes the butt of the others’ jokes. From dressing him up in layer upon layer of clothes to ward off the winter cold to a trick, nasty in real life but hilarious here, played by the two females who tempt him to lean forward for a kiss only for this to go horribly wrong. Set-pieces by Jutras, dressed in tropical short-sleeved shirt and shorts, or later a Hawaian reed skirt, are hilarious as he juggles with hoops on top of the piano ending with camp shakes of his behind.
Ice-roller skating, and a terrific trampoline display shows off the machismo males’ strength with bravado. Something for everyone. Above all, a never-forgotten story-line which transforms this show into a dramatic ballet, not just a sequence of athletic moves.