Peacock Theatre, London
October 8, 2017
Cirque Éloize, stars of Quebec’s circus scene, take audiences on a whirlwind journey to the Wild West in their new show, Saloon. Inspired by the rich and colourful legacy of the region and time, it showcases the company’s trademark blend of spectacular circus, music, dance and drama, with a variety of characters swinging through the saloon doors along the way. Hugely entertaining, audiences are fully transported to the whip-cracking, lasso-throwing world, with moments of humour, intrigue and drama too. It’s easy to be swept along with the simple but effective narrative running through the show.
Directed by Emmanuel Guillaume, Saloon is full of infectious energy and physical feats, performed by 11 hugely talented cast members. It is set to a soundtrack of non-stop live folk and country music, including hits from Patsy Cline to Johnny Cash, as well as original compositions by Canadian composer Éloi Painchaud. The three musicians and singers are a constant amongst the action, with the other performers also stepping in with a song or violin to enhance the action on stage.
The audience is introduced to the distinctive characters in turn, each identified by a particular quirk or skill. Work on the Chinese pole warmed things up nicely. Hand to hand work by Justine Méthé-Crozat is particularly captivating as she plays a character who has a significant role in each of the other ten’s tales, adding romantic interest. A great soulful voice too.
The live music that accompanies the action forms light relief to the dark and intense setting of Saloon. The simple costumes lend themselves to the atmosphere.
As always with Cirque, the focus is on the skill and expertise of the performers, although the highlights are not perhaps the highly technical or even risk-filled parts of the performance, but the elements that see the cast working as one. A spectacle of tumbles and flips using a see-saw as an aid is the epitome of this, each character – although initially opposed to each other – working together to create a thrilling and adrenaline-fuelled episode of tricks.
Indeed, the energy sizzles from beginning to end. The performers descending on the auditorium, much to the audience’s delight, only enhances this.
Cirque Éloize has been creating award-winning entertainment that reinvents circus arts, fusing them with music, theatre and dance, for nearly 25 years. With Saloon, they’ve done it again.
Saloon continues at the Peacock Theatre to October 21. Click here for details.