Review by Laurence Bertels
The hourglass is an instant reminder. The metronome, the one from their previous show "Plic Ploc" confirms the judgement. Tempus Fugit. Yes, time flies. For thirty years this Feather (plume) in the wind has been revolutionising circus arts, bringing a new vision, a new tempo, a new poetry of suspended time, whilst it may be a lost cause for clock-makers, Plume explore this frozen space between rising and falling, tick and tock.
Between grace and energy
"Tempus fugit? A walk along the lost road", everything is there in the title of this tenth and latest creation, and Cirque Plume delicately alternate grace and energy, slowness and virtuosity, strength and fragility, both the time that is lost and that which is spent. A show which is at once imperfect and the same time so beautiful it passes like a warm breath that you want to hold in your hand. Or put away for the rough times ahead.
The troupe was founded in 1984 by a band of happy vagabonds, including the Kudlak brothers who are still there at the helm, and as promised they have maintained their course and their integrity. (Read "La Libre" of 20/01/2015) Over their thirty years of creation, touring and flights of imagination, Plume has known much joy.
And some sad moments too, as with the loss of musician Robert Miny who chose to leave this lost road. A drama which has brought a note of sadness to this new circus creation, but it still remains filled with light.
Joyful, reinvigorating, filled with the dust of nostalgia, "Tempus fugit?", a true circus journey, supported masterfully by its music. Hat’s off to Benoît Schick, the musician, who has masterfully taken charge and stands there on a piano hanging above the stage, as he lets forth with a raw voice the key-note of his magical, balanced and fanciful score that combines blues, rock and jazz. With a flap of his wings, he provides the rhythm to guide us on our journey from one end of the stage to the other.
Even when performing under a big-top Plume remains faithful to the front-facing stage, yet they are careful to add a certain immediacy to the show during its theatrical narrations, stage effects are multiplied, but without excess, the stage is a jumble of bric-a-brac, the life-affirming do-it-yourself spirit in full flow, an organised chaos unveiled to the festive tune of a trombone, a steel band or saxophone.
A surprise ending
After this overwhelming intro, a moment of calm and respite, a family photo to remember our origins.
Followed by more minimalist scenes, through illusions like shadows behind the curtains, a tightrope walker, the delicate Molly Saudel, passing from one New York skyscraper to another, or a red ball which flies away, increases in size, and then shrinks to an orange moon ripe for the picking or becomes a clown nose to be bitten into. A clown. Mick Holsbeke, off-beat and funny, fiendishly Anglo-Saxon, always just a little off kilter. Just what you need to admire the Chagall-like flight of the violinist, or the fantastic Cyr wheel of Maxime Pythoud, well known to Belgian audiences since he learnt his trade at the ESAC (Brussels’ Circus Arts School).
The alternating rhythms are maintained right to the end, thanks to the ingenious and luminous surprise of the Chef, but we won’t spoil that for you. But his halo will light our way through the long Winter nights.