Le Soir (Belgique)
30 January 2016

New show "Tempus Fugit?", like holding the sun in the palm of your hand

Nouveau spectacle. « Tempus Fugit ? », comme un soleil dans le creux de la main | Le Soir (Belgique) (presse_tempus) {PDF}When we say "anniversary" we don’t necessarily mean "nostalgic recollection". Even if ardent fans will recognise some subtle references to some of Cirque Plume’s past productions, such as the ballet-dancing umbrellas or diabolic metronomes of Plic Ploc – everyone else will discover a show which is far more festive than nostalgic. We find the troupe’s signature style: a kind of wonderful off-beat poetry where the music holds as much importance as the feats of acrobatic prowess. And not forgetting the influence of Robert Miny, Cirque Plume’s long-standing composer, who died just before Tempus fugit?’s first showing, with which Benoît Schick weaves an astounding soundtrack. With the voice of Leonard Cohen and a touch of jazz-blues from the piano, the musician cloaks the show with a deranged sensuality. Omnipresent, all-encompassing, the orchestra provides the tone, conducting the acrobatics and adding rainbows of colour to the clowning. Circus and music co-exist in perfect symbiosis. The saxophone leads the tightrope walker from one end of the line to the other, in front of a background of New York skyscrapers made from the shadows of orange crates. Trumpet, drums, piano and electric guitar are the instruments of devilry or comfort for the Cyr wheel and Chinese pole performances. The trapeze artist starts with a few tango steps, a violinist loses his sheet music as it transforms into a swallow and flies away followed by the musician himself as if in homage to Chagall. A clown with amazing vocal abilities ends up by getting the audience to sing along with him in canon... Each musician ends up inevitably perched on one or other of the bizarre machines on the stage.

And if the music is acrobatic, the performances are no less so. Some instances of prowess freeze time, but most of the scenes fly past with a sly foolishness, an incandescent poetry bathed in literary or cinematographic influences. The Pierrot from Enfants du Paradis meets Baudelaire; a fleeting evocation of the peasants of Millet’s Angelus shares the stage with memories of Chaplin, Keaton and Fellini. A clown plays with the projection of setting sun which bounces on a white sheet. The same sheet suddenly becomes an ocean of clouds or ethereal hills beneath the steps of an acrobat. Always faithful to its saying, "In the infinite space of the eternity of the moment", Cirque Plume magically invokes hypnotic and fleeting instants, like the twelve luminous pendula, a wave of stars which transform the laws of physics and harmonic oscillations which serve as a metaphor for the sublime discordance of time. A magical and mysterious ambience closes the show; time suddenly becomes grains of sand in a fleeting hourglass.

Catherine Makereel