Transit Cabaret

Transit Cabaret by Six Faux Nez is described as 'A silent show, like a silent movie, a clever, poetic and festive mix of music, gesture and underground cabaret-theatre. Or a tragic-comical hymn to life performed by five rather witty, buffoonish clowns' – part of which is true. There is definitely music, buffoonery and a silent show aesthetic, but the wit and poetry are sorely lacking.

The clowns glide across the stage like otherworldly creatures bringing dark, musical mischief wherever they go.

Visually, the production is incredibly striking – on a vast, bare stage the clowns emerge from the darkness and proceed to create fantastical spaces out of nothing. A table that was once a bed becomes a boat and finally a prison. The clowns glide across the stage like otherworldly creatures bringing dark, musical mischief wherever they go. 

It’s just a shame that such a visually impressive show fails to connect to the audience. Part of the problem is undoubtedly the huge space that elevates and distances the audience from the action, making us cold spectators rather than active participants desperate for more. This, along with the largely wordless performances, means that the subtleties and intricacies of the narrative and performances are lost.

That being said, there are some wonderful moments, even if they never seem to properly connect as a coherent narrative. A woman gives birth with reams of red cloth pouring out of her; a couple flee on a boat, drawing the view from the porthole onto the wall; and an orphaned baby floats in the ocean. I struggled with the narrative as the performances required greater articulation but the closest I came to understanding it was: a woman gives birth; people get jealous and try to steal the baby, leading to them killing each other for it; dead clowns become angels and watch the rest of the carnage ensue; baby is left orphaned, floating in a bucket in the ocean; the end. 

I’m sure there was more to the show than that, but the crucial details were lost due to an overall lack of clarity in the performances and the seemingly nonsensical sequence of events, leaving us largely untouched and unmoved.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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The Blurb

Five contemporary clowns musicians actors create physical and visual comedies, not afraid if one existential issue or another pops up almost by accident along in the way, in a show influenced by the colourful, morbid and funny paintings of James Ensor. They travel through a universe full of meanings, emotions and humanity. A silent show, like a silent movie, a clever, poetic and festive mix of music, gesture and underground cabaret-theatre. Or a tragic-comical hymn to life performed by five rather witty, buffoonish clowns.

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