La Tribune
9 November 1999

The Cirque Plume opens its poetic cabaret

Gwénola DAVID

- The new Cirque Plume show is a hymn to life.
- Musical tableaux in which a gallery of characters succeed one another alternating with interludes of clowning and instants of poetry.

Mélanges, mixtures of people, of arts, techniques and genres. There’s no doubt, the Cirque Plume, pioneers of what is called "the new circus", are continually reinventing their field of investigations and their palette of talents. "Mélanges-Opéra Plume", their latest creation, can be seen as a poetic cabaret, in which, with a of series of musical tableaux, a gallery of comical characters succeed one another alternating with interludes of clowning and instants of pure poetry. On the stage is an immense three-storey play machine which can act, now as the cross-section of a building with a direct view into the apartments, now as a series of levels between earth and heaven. The theatrical space is constantly transformed with lighting effects, the manoeuvring of a strange rolling bridge, and drapes which descend. In this highly versatile decor, you zap between an improvised rock concert and an aerial quartet in which the double bass player takes to the air after his notes, not forgetting polyphonic song, a diva singing solo and a symphony for cell phones. Endearing performers Stories meet, entwining at times, before the dumbfounded, and sometimes grumpy eye of "Little Miss Perfect", a concierge who takes a sweep at anything passing. The imagination spins with a somewhat wild-eyed NFD angel (no-fixed-dwelling - no-fixed-deity) who in his erratic peregrinations, borne onward on his roller-skates, makes a way through this apparent bedlam.

The suburban darling, starry-eyed lovers, crazy match-maker, twit in a tank top, failed rock musician, crooner on a come-back, musician with a hang-up, mischievous adolescent, or yet again, the seductive dancer: all the performers have forged their characters with their fads, their dreams, their little weaknesses, and the passion of their enthusiastic spirit. Caught in their secret timidity they are all the more endearing. If the circus ring has been abandoned for a more traditional frontal stage, we still find, of course, all the basic elements of the circus: acrobatics, juggling, conjuring, trampoline, clowns, the flying trapeze, balancing acts... But the acts are not presented within a logic of pure performance. They fit into a drama, a theatrical performance of which they constitute but an episode in weaving the theme of the story. Perfection in the performance of an act is always coloured with a tinge of self-mockery. These impertinent circus performers revive their classical acts, as for example the dancer drawing song from the cord on which she is performing. And delve into all the artistic genres: music, song, modern dance, hip-hop, tap-dancing, shadow theatre... It should be said that everyone in the company is, at once, a highly-skilled actor, musician and circus performer. As Bernard Kudlak, who wrote and directed this tender and crazy opera, says so well: "The show is performed by the living for the living: it is joyful, colourful, deep, poetic, stained, confused, and precise. It’s like life."