Review: Le Noir – The Dark Side of Cirque, Lyric Theatre (2015)

Circus performance is something that has changed greatly over the years. Whether it’s the artistic and alternative performances of Cirque du Soleil or the traditional fairground shows of amateur big tops, there seems to be two different types of circus performers that circulate in the entertainment world.

Le Noir is the latter of them. With it’s sexy showgirls walking down the stage like a fashion show and the men literally ripping buttons off their shirts to the woos of female audience members, Le Noir is the very definition of a traditional fairground circus, with all its sex appeal and audience-driven performance.

Divided into three sections, initially the show begins with skills-focused performances. Solos and duets are performed on the platform on the stage, with premium seated audience members surrounding them, clearly the best seats in the house. After the overlong “comedic” introduction with the circus emcee Salvador Salangsang, we move into the beginning of the skills-based performers. Elena Gatilova’s aerial hoop routine is moving and a strong contender for being the best act in the show overall. The music and lights accompanying the movements themselves turn the average presentation into one that is affecting and visually pleasing,

Following this is Anna Ostapenko’s hand balance act and aerial silk duet with Dasha Shelest and Vadym Pankevych. Though both strong performances, are a bit of a snooze fest in terms of originality and high-fuelled performance. This changes extremely in the next section,  which features roller skating duet of Jeronimo Garcia and Jessica Ritchie and a balancing act with Valeri Tsvetkov and Yuri Stoyanov.

Eventually we reach the traditional fairground act and high-energy part of the show, at times overly exploitative to retain interest in the show. Gediminas Pavlovicius’ balancing act causes sweaty palms with his routine atop a stack of steel tubes while a trapeze-like act with Alexandre Lane and Emilie Fournier also shocks. Finally the Wheel of Death takes centre stage. A cirque staple and crowd pleaser ends the adrenaline filled second act with less pomp and circumstance than likely intended.

Le Noir is a generic-feeling and unadventurous cirque performance that makes use of adrenaline and fast music over skills and creativity. By trying to appeal to a wider population than other artistic circus shows, the show loses credibility and seems more interested in shocking the audience than actually pleasing it.

3/5 Stars

Published by Eden Caceda

Eden Caceda is an acclaimed journalist, commentator and radio host from Sydney, Australia. After studying English at the University of Sydney, he has written over 300 articles and pieces from 2013. His key areas of writing are culture, entertainment, opinion and current affairs.


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