Cirkopolis (4 stars)

Cirkopolis

credit: Patrick Lazic

Cirque Éloize turns drab office life into a sparkling party in this innovative circus show

Canadian circus troupe Cirque Éloize has moved out of the big top and into a theatre for this clever production which weaves a storyline around a masterful display of circus, incorporating dance and theatre into its routines.

Doom-laden Metropolis is the unlikely backdrop. Projected onto the backcloth is a grey, clanking version of Fritz Lang's famous 1927 movie; giant cogs grind slowly round and the soundtrack is all dark ominous techno beats. On stage, Ashley, the clown of the show, is at his desk stamping great piles of papers. It's a mindless task, with grey figures bringing him more and more papers to shuffle and stamp.

While Ashley dreams of constructing a puppet from the crumpled papers in his bin, so his tormentors begin to incorporate elements of circus acts into their manic rushing.

When an argument breaks out, the two protagonists are a strongman balancing act, then the constant stream of papers turns into a flight of white juggling clubs, showering around the stage. Costumes gradually begin to hint at colours – red in the dress of a contortionist, purple in another who climbs high onto her fellow workers hands; yellow in a couple on the Chinese pole.

It's all very cleverly done, although the nature of several of the circus acts, notably the Cyr wheel and the German wheel, serves more to reflect on the theme than drive the story on. But at its core, this is spectacular circus, performed with great skill and delivered in a thoroughly innovative format with strong attention to detail.

Pleasance at EICC, until 28 Aug (not 23), 7.30pm (& 2.30pm on 26), £12.50–£17.50 (£10–£14).

Cirkopolis

  • 4 stars

Cirque Éloize in association with the Pleasance A staggering blend of circus, theatre and dance, Quebec's Cirque Éloize transform classic film Metropolis into a virtuosic spectacle for the whole family. As artists rebel, their grey cityscape is replaced by absurd humour, beautiful poetry and bursts of brilliant colour…

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