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Review: Cirque Infernal

The Vision of a New Circus comes to town!

by David Simmons

Wilson SteyWith just a few days into spring, things are gradually warming up at Joburg Theatre! For the next two weeks, Cirque Infernal takes to the stage and kick starts the warmer months with a fiery bang! With a proudly all-European cast, this part circus part fantasy journey brings a certain mystery and interest to its offering. It’s not often we get to witness circus acts on a stage, let alone in a circus setting however, the weird and wonderful characters of this production set the stage ablaze for a night of make believe, nail-biting antics and pure theatrical magic!

Having been awfully spoilt for choice this year with locally and internationally produced productions, we are long overdue for some light hearted (and at times toe curling!) family fun. Reminiscent of the side shows of the 1920’s, Cirque Infernal sits in a league of its own. With a group of talented performers each honing in on their respective skills (some more challenging than others), this modern showcase is full of energy and punch. It has a driving force that entrances the audience with a package full of tricks and boundless curiosity.

Over the centuries circus acts have had world-wide appeal and there is no doubting that Cirque Infernal will fascinate Johannesburg audiences alike. It may be the risk-taking presentations that add that extra audience thrill or the fact that one never really knows what to expect.

In our collective subconscious we hope with crossed fingers that there will be zero slipups or even a few missteps, however the slick nature of this show doesn’t allow for any fails or disappointments.

There are the usual moments of gasps and shock but for the most part you will feel like getting up on your chair and cheering the artists on. With a group of eccentrics each playing their part with excellence and bravery you will be wowed with a tour de force of expertise and flair.

It’s always intriguing to see circus type performers who use their own talents without the use of animals to enhance their acts.  This animal friendly show is jam-packed with a unique offering and stylish mix of showstoppers. Backed by an avant-guard soundtrack, changing throughout to create a mysterious yet somewhat bizarre dream like atmosphere, we are introduced to the characters that each bring their talents to life in this two-act show.

Andriy RuzhyloFrom tightrope walking and fire-eating to a contortionist who effortlessly weaves herself in and out of her own body, we are simply spoilt for choice. Scottish husband and wife team Rachel Irving and Charlie Peratt are one of the highlights of the show. They make knife-throwing look like a breeze and although their act is difficult to watch there are fortunately no fatalities! We are also introduced to the two Romanian brothers Valentin and Catalin Badea, who effortlessly use their bodies in an act of balance and true acrobatic style. The show comes to close with the wall of death, an explosive and visually appealing set of motorbikes and daredevils.  We won’t give too much away – you’ll have to see the show to experience the Cirque Infernal grand finale!

Creator and founder Danny Varanne effortlessly transports you to another dimension where make believe comes to life and we are forced to adapt to the wonders of circus excitement.

Cirque Infernal is anything but bright lights and fairy dust. It’s dark and gothic and at times there are moments of unease however for the most part and especially for novice enthusiasts of circus escapades, you’ll get to experience an incredibly versatile and eclectic show.

Cirque Infernal will be running at the Joburg Theatre until the 23rd of September 2018. Tickets are available at Webtickets or at the theatre.

There’s an age restriction of No Under 5’s.

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