A packed big top and an ecstatic local crowd greet the latest show from Cirque Plume.
The ’Atelier du peintre’ (Artist’s studio) is a delightful incursion into the world of the plastic arts, every aspect and era of which is explored to fire our imagination which, in nearly two hours, never falters.
The opening scene unites the entire troop in front of ’Las Meninas’ by Velasquez, then the fun begins. As if in a dream, an odalisque detaches herself from the picture to take part in a choreographed duet with a young man overcome by her beauty. He (Philippe Nicaud) then performs an astounding acrobatic act with straps.
Two muscular torsos (Pierre Kudlak as ’Papy peintre’ and Robert Miny, composer of the music) take off the famous portrait of Gabrielle d’Estrées whose breast is gently being pinched by her sister.
A ripped canvas by Fontana gives way to a series of hilarious entrances and exits from the stage. In this new show, even body painting gets a mention, via the bra improvised by one of the female musicians (Brigitte Sepaser) painting herself with Klein blue.
Tributes or parodies, allusions and references to painters manage to avoid being too serious and showcase the skills of the circus performers, such as Kristina Dniprenko, with her prowess on the German wheel that glues the audience to its seats. Or Laura Smith, who flies above the trampoline in a cloud of red petals.
The show is bathed in magic where, with effortless grace, the routines follow on from each other with a lightness of touch that is the hallmark of Cirque Plume. Just like the omnipresent music that accompanies a juggling act at an ever increasing speed (performance by Tibo Tout Court as the clown Oui-Oui).
The finale, when all the performers jump out of their frame, leaping high in the air from the trampoline, then returning to their picture rails, is evidence that painting and the circus were made for each other.