After their 2015 Edinburgh smash hit Barbu, expectations were high for Cirque Alfonse’s new production, and their new circus spectacular Tabarnak does not disappoint.
A fantastic contemporary take on the traditional circus format
Inspired by the company’s French Canadian culture, Tabarnak’s set is reminiscent of a church, and many of the shows, themes and motifs are centred around the idea of the religious building as a cultural and community hub. With a live band providing a fantastic sound, the show is brimming with (what I assume from my high school level french) are traditional Quebecoise songs, and the warm and welcoming atmosphere is uplifting and joyous. Circus is often touted as being ‘beyond borders’ but there is something delightful about getting to see a show that is so rooted in another culture and experience. We can feel the passion the artists feel for their heritage.
With an impressively multi-skilled cast of acrobats, the choreography of the opening circus numbers have a flavour of social dance about them, but with a circus twist. Featuring roller skating, group acrobatics and a very cleverly integrated aerial tribute to campanology, the silks on offer are truly impressive and executed with charm and panache. The complexity and scale of the circus disciplines increase as the show progresses and by the end the cast are flipping and tumbling through the rafters drawing all of the gasps and wows from the audience that a brilliant circus show should.
Despite the title (a very rude profanity in the company’s native Quebec), Tabernak is more than suitable for a family audience and contains subtle moments of wit, charm and surrealism to compliment the physical skills. Exciting and engaging, this show is a fantastic contemporary take on the traditional circus format.