Review: Le Noir: Dark Side of the Cirque

Le Noir’s “Dark Side of Cirque”, is certainly a spectacle of attraction, as it draws you in through suspense, amazement and an intrinsic sexiness. The level of technique and quality of performance is extraordinarily high, and the acts transcend our normative understandings of the capabilities of the human body. After a hilarious introduction by the clown of the troupe, who jokes around and forces audience participation – much to the embarrassment of those lucky few picked and the complete hysteria of everyone else watching, the impossible begins to happen in front of your eyes.

Starting with a hypnotic display of spinning flexibility, high above the audience, the “Aerial Lira” executes perfect poetic movement in a truly majestic and breathtaking opening act. Yet she is not the only showcased acrobat who seems to defy all forms of gravity and abilities of the human form and anatomy. Another incredible performer continues this theme of super-human performance, as she contorts her body in miraculous forms whilst balancing on three lowly sticks. Anna Ostapenko, with arms that would make Madonna jealous, displayed her incredible strength and balance with an artistic beauty that truly can only be seen to be believed. After asking her what she thought about performing in Canberra, Ostapenko said she found Canberra to be a lovely peaceful city, where the “people are very friendly,” providing a break from the “big and impersonal” Sydney and Melbourne.

As the show goes on, it continues to shatter your understanding of what people can do, as the cast fly, hold each other, and move as if they had no bones at all. Before going to this, I never thought it was possible to balance on someone’s neck, either with or without hands, but after seeing this show, I realise that for some people, it’s actually the norm. Gediminas Pavlovicius, performing as the “Rolla Bolla” particularly encompassed this sense of impossibility. You could hear the audience collectively scream and gasp at what he was doing on the stage. I myself couldn’t watch at one point, and turned to the audience to assure me he hadn’t died yet.

Balancing on seven, independently moving cylinders, several metres above the stage, the performer seemed to defy the chance of serious injury multiple times, as with each centimetre he rolled closer to the edge, so the increase of my panic at the possibility of witnessing a catastrophe. Yet, he defied our worst fears, and successfully manipulated our fears to his safety, claiming that it’s a “50% physical [and] 50% mental game” that allows him to sustain an act epitomising the term “death-defying”. As the main premise of the show, you will become besotted with the capabilities of these performers, as their amazing acts, complete with sultry costumes, will surely stick in your mind for a long time to come.

Le Noir – The Dark Side of Cirque, is currently touring nationally. Tickets and more information is available at http://www.cirquelenoir.com/