Le Figaro Magazine
3 October 2014

Cirque Plume, indefinably special for 30 years

Cirque Plume : 30 ans qu'ils ont un truc | Le Figaro Magazine (presse_tempus) {PDF}

Thirty years! Over a period of three months at the Villette park, Cirque Plume will celebrate their thirtieth anniversary with Tempus Fugit, first performed and created 18 months ago, and still improving with every performance. In spite of a few recurring drops in tempo, the show is the finest possible example of what the "new" circus is capable of. After all it was "Plume" who were amongst the first to clear the ring of the musty liturgy of ring-masters, fanfares and sad clowns. Before anyone else, they understood that it just was not enough to propose a few quality acts and turns. You still needed to be able to captivate! So they set to work on the kinds of ambience that would allow them to pass from a Chinese pole to tightrope dancing, from balancing acts to jugglers... In short, they rediscovered the art of creating surprise. For this they have laid out the audience in a quarter circle and completely done away with the idea of a central ring. In the theatre we would call that stage direction - something hitherto unheard of in the circus. It is very fitting that the artists of Cirque Plume have decided to call them selves "Circus actors". The excellent musical score, composed by Benoît Schick, adds the finishing touch, enchanting the audience with a captivating four note theme that seems itself to conduct the prowess of the artists.
All of this success will not save them from criticism. There is the pitfall of the pseudo-philosophy that weighs the show down, something that Plume had become so adept at avoiding before. Why all of these strange references to this world? Why does the quotation from Victor Hugo stick out like a sore thumb? There are also a few repeated elements that ruin the element of surprise. Fortunately none of this has a fatal influence on the overall effect, which is one of genuine high quality and which has already evidently captivated the 150,000 spectators who have already seen the show since its creation. This is an evening out for all ages, a show that speaks from the heart and never slips into caricature. Even the clown, Mick Holsbeke, who uses and abuses exaggeration and repetition somehow manages to make the whole audience laugh, and at the same time profoundly moving. As for Maxime Pythoud, his Cyr wheel act is absolutely incredible. Truly worthy of genuine applause.