Timber! Is Something To Shout About

By Stuart Black Last edited 49 months ago
Timber! Is Something To Shout About ★★★★☆ 4

Cirque Alfonse's Timber! Photo by Timothy Cochrane.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

If you've ever wondered: how much wood would a Québécois chuck if a Québécois could chuck wood — and let's face it, who hasn't? — then this cracking family show is for you.

Timber! comes from Cirque Alfonse, a French Canadian lumberjack circus (yeah, another one) that re-packages traditional vaudeville tricks — juggling, clowning and equilibristics — so that they feel somehow like authentic life skills employed in the logging trade. It’s a simple idea but one that is realised beautifully.

The smell of sawdust is strong as you walk into the Queen Elizabeth Hall creating a heady ambience that thickens when the troupe of performers come out — all checked shirts, animal skins and bushy black beards. Three are musicians who score the stunts that follow with smoky and surprisingly moody French mountain folk. Then we get what we came for: axe tossing (oh!), wood-saw vaulting (ah!), clog dancing (clomp!), bullwhip cracking (um, crack?) and some truly fantastic gymnastics. The comic interludes with grand-père are also très drôle — as he tries again and again to use the outside toilette in peace.

Timber! is charismatically performed and superbly directed and, at 90 minutes long, it does justify its price tag. Afterwards you’ll feel like stuffing your face full of poutine and chopping up firewood all winter.

Timber! is on at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Southbank Centre until 31 December. Tickets cost £10-£27. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 22 December 2014