Cirque Tsuki: Parade

The concept of Cirque Tsuki’s final instalment of its trilogy is strong. Based on the Japanese ghost story of Izanami and Izanagi, Parade begins - fittingly - with us being paraded into the venue itself. The premise is excitingly metatheatrical, as circus performers confess they are in the midst of an experiment that we are about to join. Welcomed into a darkened series of passageways at the top of C Nova by an enthusiastic Millicent Wilkie as Tiffin, a living doll, it all feels very Punchdrunk and delightfully so. Waiting in anticipation we’re drawn into this immersive piece by a mysterious veiled woman, one of the most naturalistic actors of the evening and a talent that seems wasted in the corner pressing buttons to unleash dry ice.

Alongside the engaging mime work of Laurie Harrington, the stage shows that it can successfully come to life when given the chance.

We enter the tale at a point of enticing intensity, in the middle of the telling of one hundred supernatural tales, where one hundred candles have been lit in honour of the hundred stories told. We have reached number ninety-seven, it is almost dark: little time remains. When all tales are told, the teller “The Great Zanagi” (Owen Templeton) hopes to revive his dead wife into the world of the living. The world of performer and performance collides and dangerous overlaps ensue.

At times the efforts to immerse seem awkwardly imposed. With the audience being drawn in as two separate groups, a confused split is created whereby we’re addressed by different speakers side by side, a set up that feels awkward and unnecessarily complicated. Also, despite the exciting start that seems to promise a performance that shifts between rooms, we remain in a conventionally static seating position throughout, with little extrapolation on the initial immersive themes.

The most exciting moments of this production are those in which the performers actually act out the tales they tell. Simple but effective, a few flutters transform a sheet into the dangerous depths of a turgid river. Alongside the engaging mime work of Laurie Harrington, the stage shows that it can successfully come to life when given the chance.

As the climax of the Cirque Tsuki trilogy, Parade promises a lot, but despite its admirable efforts to engage and immerse the audience, this production remains at best a valiant effort and still feels somewhat unfinished. 

Reviews by Thea Hawlin

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The Blurb

Parade comes from the furthest reaches of Japan, inspired by Izanagi and Izanami. The Cirque Tsuki is playing A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales, where 100 candles are lit and 100 ghost stories are told. The story goes that when the last candle is extinguished all the ghosts summoned will appear. The final tale is of Izanagi and his strange journey into the underworld in search of his lost love. Parade is last in the trilogy. 'A fantastic five-star piece of theatre' (