Originally published on The Reviews Hub
Awarded 4.5 stars – A finely tuned machine
An explosion of creative energy on stage, Cirque Eloize is a production filled with colour, vibrancy and life, a stark contrast to the concrete jungle and drudgery that the bustling humdrum of a city generates. Jeannot Painchaud’s vision notes that whilst the remainder of society may be caught up in the day to day grind, there is a small pocket of individuals that find peace in the anonymity, an ability to bring forth a powerful force that emanates from the within the core of such a monolithic metropolis.
iD is not just another circus show, these are 10-a-penny in a performance hub such as London. The Udderbelly, the London Wonderground, the Spiegeltent, all require a company to generate something different. Painchaud has past involvement with the gold standard of global modern circus and performance, Cirque du Soleil, and transfers that similar energy and requirement to think outside of the box to the Peacock Theatre; iD is a fusion of highly complex circus acts and street dance, reinforced with brash and bright design. No aspect is found wanting – Painchaud has engaged in collaborations with a wide range of contributors, a melting pot of ideas that converge and culminate into a finely tuned machine.
iD’s greatest strength is that every aspect is individually at the top of its field, complementing each other and culminating in a really impactful and dynamic production. It is not just about the act on stage – Painchaud ensures that there is always something extra to see, a keen sense of appreciation for the supporting acts and visual elements. Composers Jean-Phi Goncalves and Alex McMahon draw on a myriad of influences to create a soundtrack that adds tension and impact for every single one of the acts – singer-songwriter lyrical lines merge with heavily electronic beats (from grime to K-pop to 1980s video game music) to add edge and pace in the heart-stopping acrobatic moments. Robert Massicotte’s set is filled with nooks and crannies that each act can take advantage of, just as a free-runner might capitalise on the seemingly ordinary angles and levels of a city skyscraper or piece of street architecture. Massicotte combines this with state of the art video projections that come into their own in the finale, where performers bounce from a trampowall into all of the intricacies of the set while the city seemingly crumbles around them. A highlight in an already incredibly highly tuned performance.
Painchaud asks a lot from his cast and they deliver in almost every aspect. A physical endeavour, everyone is on stage at least two-thirds of the production, lending support and providing back-up to the main act that unfolds. A show such as this demands global talent and, for the most part, this is realised. Olivier Poitras brings a modern twist on the traditional Chinese pole with speed and flair; Nicole Winter contorts into all manner of shapes that astonish the audience without making them feel queasy; Angel Sanchez stacks up difficulty into a hand balancing act, a house of cards that almost comes tumbling down. An unexpected act brings less traditionally considered creative disciplines of in-line skating and trial bike to deliver skill and involve the audience within the overall atmosphere. The group numbers display the smallest of cracks in an otherwise flawless technical showcase, some tightening of the screws to bring the group dancing and skipping ropes into sharper focus is needed.
Fourteen different disciplines are expertly combined in two hours, matched by the highest standards in design. Painchaud’s vision effortlessly creates a product that pushes boundaries and captivates its audience. Small wonder that it is at 1,000 shows and still going strong.
Director: Jeannot Painchaud
Runs until 8 October 2016 | Image: Valerie Remise