La Figaro Magazine5 October 2018
Cirque Plume: Final bow
No matter how revolutionary you are, there comes a day when you have to exit the stage. So is the case with Cirque Plume, who have decided to tour their final show.* "One must share one’s departure with others," says Bernard Kudlak, who founded this extraordinary company with his friends in 1984. For we may be not well enough aware of it, but it is in France that the circus was remade. Moving far away from animals, fanfares and other white clowns, it stretched its horizons, coming closer to other performing arts such as theater and dance. Moreover, by abandoning the circus ring to perform on a stage, Cirque Plume, with its frontal stage under its big top, initiated the metamorphosis. These Franche-Comté natives, who were marginalized in the circus world when they began, ended up leading the way.
This final production, considering their thirty years of success, will certainly not be retained as the best. The fault may lie in the humor, which is sometimes a little too easy. Fortunately, wonders are omnipresent throughout the show. It is a visual poem in which, in scenes worthy of a painter, superb numbers are mixed in, often with a good deal of wit. Everything is staged here, but the circus folk manage to create the illusion that it’s all improvised before our eyes — and not without mischief. The other strength of Cirque Plume is the music, which is always in line with what we see. Sometimes musicians stay in the background, sometimes they are ubiquitous on stage. In short, Cirque Plume’s shows form a whole. They have their strengths and their weaknesses, their qualities and their faults, but oh how many beautiful evenings they have given us! So it’s up to us to pull them away from their final bow. This Dernière saison will last until 2020. The exit won’t be easy!
*La Dernière Saison, at the Espace chapiteaux at la Villette, through December 30 (Wednesday through Sunday), then touring throughout 2019.