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Maverick Life, South Africa

Theatre Review: Cirque Éloize iD – almost too much to watch

Theatre Review: Cirque Éloize iD – almost too much to watch

The power and energy of Cirque Éloize iD grabs you by the eyes and ears from the moment it begins. By LESLEY STONES.

A constantly changing cityscape of high-rise buildings daubed with graffiti, the noise of traffic and sirens and the pounding beat of hip-hop and Spanish rap. This is where the street punks play, dressed like they raided a jumble sale as they weave in and out of buildings, swing from the poles and goad their rivals in mock gang battles.

It could be downtown Joburg, except the youngsters in the Cirque are hugely skilled acrobats, aerialists, athletes and dancers who turn the city into a modern circus.

There’s a playful insouciance to their actions as they flip, flop and fly with joyful ease. The stunts and moves are magnificent, the setting superb, and the atmosphere electric.

Cirque Éloize’s 15 artistes even make skipping ultra-cool, with ropes turning within ropes and each character getting a chance to flaunt their thing.

There’s often almost too much to watch, with the main act backed by others dancing or doing acrobatics of their own in perfectly choreographed hyperactivity.

Amid the frenetic action are slower, carefully crafted duets, always with a twist. The contortionist interacting with a breakdancer is crazy – the way Nicole Winter can flex her body is astonishing. In fact, every scene makes you realise how little most of us demand from our bodies when this crew is demonstrating what they’re capable of. There are lots of wow moments and a lovely girlpower equality too.

Juggler Jean-Philippe Deltell is another highlight, juggling in a construction site and using the passing props delightfully.

The soundtrack by composers Jean-Phi Goncalves and Alex McMahon is nicely varied to suit the moment, with high-energy beats giving way to graceful music to accompany the swoops and swirls of the aerial acts.

The video backdrop is brilliant, with the scene constantly morphing and surprising us when a seemingly solid wall opens into windows. Boxes create various levels around the tenement blocks, and the way trail biker Thibaut Philippe jumps his cycle up the building is quite astonishing.

The show, directed by Jeannot Painchaud, came to Johannesburg three years ago and I was delighted to see it again. The trampoline scene finale that I still remembered as a highlight once again left me laughing, in between holding my breath at the sheer audacity of this carefree cast.

If you want your kids to grow up aiming to be dancers or performers – with a slight risk of becoming street brawlers instead – take them to the Cirque. DM

Cirque Éloize iD runs at Montecasino’s Teatro until December 24. Tickets from Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or


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