Le martinpression
28 January 2018

The last “Plume” soars with beauty

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Cirque Plume began its final tour last spring. "La dernière saison" will hereon occupy Bernard Kudlak and his company through 2021. Four years to say goodbye. The Théâtre de Caen has a large place in this last bow. It has booked sixteen performances by these precursors of nouveau cirque. The piece is playing now. As is widely deserved, all shows are sold out.

First we had Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Now we have the Four Seasons of Cirque Plume. As a farewell gift to the stage and to the circus ring, Bernard Kudlak has imagined an evocation of the cycle of a year in this "dernière saison." He has combined all his craft and artistry to create a world of humor and poetry, backed by unparalleled acrobats and musicians.

Leaves fall. We hear the creaking of crickets. Very quickly, the atmosphere of a forest sets in, with its troll-like characters, including a creature whose chest seems to have escaped from the movie "The Square." The difference here being Cyril Casmèze, whose portrayal of the creature garners major laughs.

The performer — a gorilla, a boar or a centaur all at once — zoomorphically adds a pallet of grunts and neighs, with which the bandleader can’t compete. Pierre Kudlak (brother of Bernard) finds himself quite helpless against the pectorals of this "Hulk." One has the impression of watching a scene from "Le Corniaud" with a Louis de Funès facing a bodybuilder in the showers of a campsite.

“La dernière saison” plays in this way with the contrasts between a strength revealing a kind of ridiculous machismo — like the beach scene inspired by the ways of an Aldo Maccione in “l’Aventure c’est l’aventure” — and a grace that is not devoid of authority, represented by four young, astonishing female acrobats.

Between the passing of broom wagons — during which, again, the sounds that Cyril Casmèze makes are marvelous — and the burial of dead leaves accompanying a funeral march, Analia Serenelli performs the most refined moves on a suspended hoop. Winter succeeds, with its falling flakes in the form of feathers (“plumes”). Xavi Sachez Martinez dances with one of them, with increasing elegance and inventiveness, to the accents of a sweet jazz melody.

The quality and diversity of the musical compositions add to the visual delight, in terms of the paintings and the lighting (including a reference to human evolution) as well as the action.

We owe this to Benoît Schick, whose raucous rock n ’roll voice à la Tom Waits contributes to this environment, which is stimulating and enchanting — and slapstick, of course, with a comical confrontation between Santa Claus and Père Fouettard.

As for Anaëlle Molinario’s number — Little Red Riding Hood entangled in a pair of skis — we do not know where to turn our heads to follow this contortionist, who is as malleable as a rag doll. Amanda Righetti, a Chinese pole specialist, drops down with astonishing control and precision, in a hymn to the lunar sky.

Spring returns with its rites and its mythological figures, including the arrival of Easter eggs laid by a platypus (or in any case a bird of the same ilk), who also provides the basket.

Set to the rhythms of a soul tune, which precedes a striking percussion trio, Nathalie Good performs on parallel tightwires. She exudes euphoric enthusiasm. The summer breeze that draws near hides behind it a storm scattering waves of waste. The message is clear. Roll up your sleeves, citizens, and stay on guard to keep the seasons from going awry.

And yet, it is upon the peaceful image of a small Bastille Day dance that Cirque Plume’s "La dernière saison" closes, resounding with Yann Tiersen-like music. We come out of this fable with eyes filled with memories, smiling from ear to ear — those ears still tingling with the delicious sound of children’s laughter.

Xavier Alexandre