Exploring the origins of circus in late 1900’s Montreal, Barbu offers a taste of the feats, curiosities and eccentricities of a time when entertainment and technology barely crossed paths.
Have you ever seen a man on roller-skates spinning around in circles while a woman, attached by rope, spins outwards but also around like a drill bit? If you can’t imagine it, just wait, and go see Cirque Alfonse’s show BARBU Electro Trad Cabaret.
About half way in their clothes start to come off, which isn’t awfully problematic but I’m hesitant to focus on this aspect because, buns aside, the show is phenomenally impressive.
It starts with the introduction of the three person music team, drums, electronics and a singer with a small guitar. They play the backing music for the entire show, timed to the performer’s actions. The bizarre, comedic sounds enhance tricks and silly antics.
In between a three-man high shoulder stack and catching ping pong balls in each other’s mouths from across the room, there’s the stage master, Lucas the Mentalist.
Lucas offers some relief after watching a few rounds of busy acrobatics. There’s a little magic, some mind reading and sword swallowing by his identical twin counterpart.
The best part about BARBU is that the entire performance is built on the human power of the team. The music is performed live, and tricks mainly rely on people, not props. Look closely and you’ll even see two of the guys off stage, pulling the ropes to control a large hoop as acrobat Genevieve Gauthier snakes her body around it while spinning in the air.
There night promises endless entertainment. If not by the direct stage presence, then by the accompanying short film clips either side of the stage.
There’s a reasonable amount of nudity but it’s all in good taste, remaining comical with no sexualisation. The children in the audience seemed to confirm its suitability, and the adults all had a good giggle too.
Cirque Alfonse performed BARBU Electro Trad Cabaret at Gluttony (The Peacock) on Thursday, March 9 2017 and will run until Sunday, March 19.