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Arts Review: Cirque Éloize Cirkopolis at the Mayflower Theatre (11/03/15)

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French-Canadian dance troupe Cirque Éloize graced the stage of Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre last week with their breathtaking new show Cirkopolis. This show is not simply a circus performance; Cirkopolis is an intricate mix of circus, dance and theatre with an endearing storyline to accompany those three elements.

Set in a monstrous grey backdrop akin to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis or Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, the futuristic mundanity of 9-5 is brought to the stage. Influenced by writing of the legendary German author Franz Kafka, Cirkopolis creates a setting familiar that is also abstract and unique. The performance plays on the notion that when the 9-5 is getting you down, we joke about running away to the circus. Instead of running away, in Cirkopolis a troupe of performers invade the life of Ashley as he cowers behind his tower of paperwork, and his daily routine is never the same again.

Cirkopolis develops scene by scene with different elements of circus and dance. With such inventive stage design and the use of digital we are taken with Ashley through Cirkopolis as the performers infiltrate his grey life with bursts of colour and excitement. The performance includes a variety of circus acts including juggling, contortion, the German wheel and many more. Notably the hand balancing performance left the crowd with their hearts in their mouths as the performer balanced from two poles roughly twenty foot in the air.

There were moments of glorious elegance and grace, in particular when Lea Toran Jenner took to the stage on the Cyr Wheel. Gaining perpetual motion, she circled around the stage in a beautiful red dress. This moment of calm was then juxtaposed with the organised chaos of a group of jugglers. As pins flew through the air, safely into another performers hands, they skilfully executed Dave St-Pierre’s meticulous choreography, often atop moving office furniture.

The show was a thrill to watch from start to finish. Cirque Éloize consistently stun the crowd with their craft and look they have great fun at the same time. Go see Cirkopolis if you have the chance, you won’t regret it.

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