Is it really necessary to describe L’Atelier du peintre and depict the secrets it holds, rather than simply sit back and enjoy it? How could one put into words the exuberance and soaring lightness of the latest show from Cirque Plume?
How can one describe the beauty, the spectacle, the lyricism that enchanted and captivated over a thousand spectators during the performance on Tuesday evening, at the aptly-named Phoenix centre? Suffice it to say that would-be spectators have another six evenings to feast their eyes and their souls, and that they should make sure they don’t miss the chance of seeing these circus artistes, who are true aces of the art of flying.
Cirque Plume is not like any other circus. Devilishly audacious, the troop from Franche-Comté doesn’t fail to surprise in this ninth offering that has already been touring for a year. On this occasion it revisits some of the paintings by the Old Masters. Even better, it brings them to life using incredible visual effects that leave the visitor to the ‘museum’ speechless and spellbound. It breathes life into marble sculptures, leaving behind nothing but a chalk mark on the ground. Games are played with light and shade, the transparent and the opaque. And like any self-respecting poet, it invokes the moon. But not to steal it, certainly not. Just to make it smile or juggle on top of it...
There are no red noses here, but the antics in the painter’s studio provide a good artist’s impression of them. Adults and children fall about laughing as a troublemaker goes to great lengths to capture a flower. A torn canvas (in the style of Fontana) acts as an impromptu exit, and there are paintball ‘warriors’ mucking about with paint and TNT.
Sets follow sets. The musicians use anything they can for instruments: pieces of glass, balls, percussion mannequins, but never play with us. Because this circus takes us by the hand and shows us things. That it isn’t just a strap that’s needed to hoist an acrobat up into the air, but also a pair of strong arms. That the spider’s web that seems to have trapped the trapeze artist may in fact be a protective cocoon... That it’s possible to trampoline on a bed of crimson petals and that dancing airborne shadow is in fact our soulmate. ‘Open your eyes, look at the world’, urges one of the characters at the start of the show. If the world were as magical as that of Cirque Plume, what a wonderful place it would be!