There appears, these days, to be an almost apologetic desire among directors and producers to find ways of presenting traditional circus acrobatics and high-wire acts with some added theme or layer of symbolism, as if the performers’ skills are no longer quite enough to hold an audience’s attention. Whether it’s ancient myths or the clichés of American High School movies, it can often prove more of a hindrance than an added plus for audiences.
A beautiful combination of subtle vocals and impressive physical strength and coordination.
Bence Vági’s Recirquel Company return to Edinburgh with Paris de Nuit, a show which initially appears to be drenched, for no discernible reason, in the fantastical world of a 19th century Montmartre cabaret. Except, after an opening musical number slightly lacking some clarity to the vocals, the whole scenario actually starts to work, adding a layer of sleek, sexy sophistication to proceedings. Almost from the start, we begin to see the individual performers as just that—individuals – with distinguishable characteristics which, though necessarily played broadly, ensure that we engage with what’s happening on the stage.
While arguably a succession of individual acts, there’s a delightful sense of momentum, with some cast members popping up to distract the audience while equipment is set up or dismantled; Whether that’s erotically presenting fruit jellies to the men in the front row, or just proving that an extremely tall, muscular man can walk in high heels if he wishes to. On occasions, there’s even a delightful mesh of a homo-erotically charged two-man trapeze act with a haunting song asking “What makes a man a man?” It’s a beautiful combination of subtle vocals and impressive physical strength and coordination.
There’s humour too, not least from the female assistant slightly reluctant to support a guest juggler, although she subsequently performs a subtle dance and heart-in-mouth aerial act that’s genuinely touching. She’s a prime example of the breadth of this show’s emotional range. The only disappointment, is that it’s all effectively performed within a proscenium arch, rather than above and around the audience: but that’s presumably down to its particular venue.