Tabarnak (Cirque Alphonse)
I am familiar with Cirque Alfonse’s earlier work, and after the quirky and innovative Barbu, I was quite interested to see their newest presentation. And it was, in one word, exceptional. From the tableau of knitting (and crochet) at the start, to the swing-laden, tumbling climax – this is what a circus show should be.
The original soundtrack integrated elements of religious music (thematically relevant, based upon the show’s title), as well as traditional French folk melodies. The live musicians were exceptionally talented and were clearly having a wonderful time. The acrobats each showcased a distinct personality, and even though they barely spoke, this was communicated through physicality and an impressive range of facial expressions.
Throughout the 70-minute show, each performer gave a dazzling display of their particular circus skills. But they also attempted moves slightly out of their comfort zone (one acrobat played the drum, the percussionist gave a whip display). These crossover bits highlighted the fact that these already-skilled performers are always working to broaden their experience and strengthen their skills, which is laudable.
Too many specific details will take away from the surprise of this gorgeous production, so I’ll not write more, apart from this: Go to Tabarnak. You will love it. Buy the CD, you’ll love that, too (I couldn’t resist the shirt, either…). A feast for the eyes and ears, Tabarnak is the sort of life-changing experience that is worth crossing an ocean to see.