THEATRE – Le Noir – Festival Theatre – Til May 2 – 4K

CP_ENT14_00034_Le_Noir_2014_Internal_Image_591x346px_HR_jpg_153778By Peter Maddern

There can be no doubt this is a golden age for physical theatre or the circus as it used to be more commonly known. The days of only capturing views of strong men and trapeze artists swinging through the air in the travelling high tops on Bonython Park has been replaced by any number of world class acts including those that came through during this year’s Fringe and now at the Festival Theatre with LeNoir. And with that new found maturity of the genre so the quality has gone up too; no longer are the artists just trying to fool the children about their feats of bravery.

Spawned from the international success of The Illusionist franchise, this Australian / Anglo production takes, as The Illusionists has, a global approach to its cast and crew with the French influence, for example, limited to just the show’s name and its engaging MC, Salvador Salangsang.

cThe show, divided into three parts, blanc, rouge and noir, is performed on a limited portion of the main stage surrounded by patrons and then from the orchestra pit where the most extraordinary ‘high wire’ acts are unleashed. The cast is pretty much dressed only in their underwear, adding enormously to the sex appeal of the whole and certainly the closer one gets to the stage the greater the temptation to reach out to touch.

It is hard to rate the acts as they are all quite stunning – strong men the likes of which one rarely encounters, various pas de deux of increasing sensuality – but both Denis Ignatov’s shape spinning and the finale ‘wheel of death’ by Carlos Macias and Angelo Rodriguez will have even seasonal physical theatre patrons holding their breath.

Given the plethora of shows that recently came through for the Fringe, the issue of what extra does Le Noir bring to the table needs to be addressed. First, this show extends your pleasure out for two hours and then it benefits greatly from an enhanced light show, with shafts of white, panels of red and flashes of blue adding greatly to the physical achievements playing out below. But perhaps more than anything, there is no doubt about the quality of the acts with each performer (bar the MC) required for just one act; ten minutes to strut their world class stuff.

It is doubtful circus has ever been this daring and sensual with Le Noir proving rather more thrilling than its title may suggest.

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