PLUME has put on weight. The creators of Cirque Plume, currently playing for three months at la Villette, just love silly puns. It’s a sign of the success achieved by a tiny circus that started from nothing in the Jura twenty five years ago and is now the top of the bill. "L’Atelier du peintre" (The Artist’s studio), their new show, is less enjoyable for its puns on the history of art than for its trampoline routine, a stand-out act in all of its shows. For years they have been using it as a piece of poetry where leap follows leap like free verse.
In another act characteristic of the company, Chinese shadows perform incredible human arabesques. Acrobats are hidden behind material before they soar up into the air. There are living paintings, like a female odalisque who steps out of her frame. Music is as omnipresent as ever, more folk-rock than fanfare, accompanying a memorable juggling act.
As a pioneer of modern circus, Plume adopts a traditional style by re-introducing clowns, who are wonderfully good, without over-using them.
The sequences follow on from each other without pause, which is a good idea: traditional circus performances can end up lasting for three hours, whereas here the show is half that length and every minute is a delight for the audience. One word of advice: come early if you have children (under 5). Seating is unreserved and the rows of seats, situated on one side of the stage only, fill up quickly. The higher up and the further away from the stage you sit, the more likely it is they will have to sit on your knee to get a better view.
Not very comfortable for you, which is a shame for a circus that is such easy viewing.