There are more circus shows trouping through London these days than you can poke a stick at. I’ve had the great pleasure of watching a lot of circus shows, and so approached Flip Fabrique’s Transit with great excitement to add to the incredible circus shows I’ve seen this year so far.
Transit is the story of troupe life, friendship, travelling together and sharing memories. It begins with an airplane announcement. Six performers are revealed from the clever, compact set. By Ariane Sauvé. The show starts exceptionally strong, with beautifully choreographed moments that soon give way to the ‘full’ acts. The joy and silliness with which everything is infused is uplifting and enjoyable, and I found myself smiling for so much of the show.
However, in my viewing, an early mistake from one performer seems to herald the beginnings of unease. More mistakes are made, tricks just slightly miscalculated. The silliness and fun seem to compromise some technical prowess.
Unfortunately, more of the tricks on show are fluffed, which led me to feel increasingly uneasy, despite how charming the production was. Perhaps the demands on the performers are too varied – they each have a skill they excel at, and perhaps more could have been made of their exceptional qualities, rather than demanding they perform across many disciplines.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Pierre Riviere perform an incredibly moving straps routine at the National Circus School showcase, and didn’t feel his talent was fully demonstrated in Transit.
The story, too, feels strangely abandoned, two-thirds of the way in – an attempt to add in a complicating detail at this point does feel forced. Why not continue the lightness and ease of the setup? Trying to add weight to the
show at this late stage was actually less than comfortable.
The stand out performer is very clearly Jeremie Arsenault, whose diabolo skills are unparalleled. There is some true magic in his moments at centre stage, and I really haven’t seen anything like it before. Also excellent is
Jonathan Julien, who has a confident and steady presence in everything he executes, while also being charming to watch.
In all, Transit is a very entertaining show, but some of the details need to be scrubbed up. In a city filled with circus performers and circus shows, a better approach seems to be to either focus more wholeheartedly on a compelling narrative, or on technical brilliance. A half-measure between the two is a little disappointing.
That said, I did have a lot of fun and there are so many genuinely stunning moments. This is a happy circus to watch, and the moments of brilliance are well worth the ticket.
Review by Christina Care
The critically acclaimed creators of Catch Me (Attrape Moi), Flip Fabrique, return to London’s South Bank in high-flying style with their latest work Transit. Joyous free-playing, high concept theatrics and an array of first-class circus skills, this is the Quebecois company doing what it does best.
Heart-stopping aerial routines, world-class acrobatics and tramp-walls that have you feeling like the performers may well end up in your lap, this high-octane ride will have you gripping the edge of your seat.
Full of rowdy camaraderie and hard-earned rapport, Transit delves deep into the life of its troupe; the ups and downs of touring, the friendship and fun of being together, and even the transient nature of life itself.
Duration: 60 minutes
Advice: Recommended for ages 6+.
27th May – 7th July 2019