Les Echos.fr
4 July 2017

Nuits de Fourvière : Cirque Plume’s final dream

Nuits de Fourvière : le dernier songe du Cirque Plume | Les Échos (presse_LDS) {PDF}The final opus of Cirque Plume wants to make us to believe in humanity once again.

Cirque Plume’s big top stands proudly and finely, pitched in the Parc de Parilly on the outskirts of Lyon. It’s been attracting nearly one thousand people to each show, proof of its audience’s devotion. “La Dernière Saison” will be Bernard Kudlak and his fellow travelers’ final tour. Cirque Plume has done a great deal for the recognition of circus arts. A world of its own, bursting with quasi-pictorial imagery and music. “La Dernière Saison” is no exception to the rule: a nearly two-hour performance of vivid scenes, of virtuoso numbers without too many surprises, and of that sweet folly that takes over the company and carries it throughout the show.

Poetic imagery

No question of yielding to melancholy: This opus is intended to be an activist work and wants to make us to believe in humanity once again. Indeed, the last word heard onstage is “fraternity.” It all begins like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with strong poetic imagery: a wirewalker balances along a row of bottles; fallen leaves are shoveled away; an “homme-cheval” performs an act. He asks for “a somersault that will tell a story.” Here, feathers are juggled, as giant shadows reach the tip of the big top.

Laughter is never far away, as in the sequence where the contortionist struggles with a pair of skis. Children adore it — especially when Santa Claus comes out in the middle of July! Sometimes the humor is a bit dragged out and it’s a shame. We’re missing a real clown in this adventure, capable of connecting the narrative thread. We look elsewhere for our thrills, for example to the trio with a suitcase, who launch into a superb percussive routine. A wire dancer emerges on a double wire, in a dialogue with the musicians. A performer climbs the pole with the ease of a girl in the air. The women of Circus Plume often lead the dances.
“La Dernière Saison” is also concerned with the fate of the planet. In a nice sequence, plastic bags begin a strange ballet, brought on by the magic of a fan. This is not as successful as "The Afternoon of a Foehn" by Phia Ménard, but the intention is beautiful. The finale, with umbrellas and fanfare, will draw a few tears from Cirque Plume’s admirors. Headed for two years of touring after its run at Nights of Fourvière, this Saison of farewells will astound you in all in its colors.

Philippe Noisette