Cirkopolis Trades Slickness For Soul At Peacock Theatre

Ruth Hargreaves
By Ruth Hargreaves Last edited 47 months ago
Cirkopolis Trades Slickness For Soul At Peacock Theatre ★★★★☆ 4

Mastering the German Wheel

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Cirque Éloize’s Cirkopolis is a different kind of circus. Trading slickness for soul, perfection for punch, it's a show with heart. Real heart. The kind that leaves you grinning from ear to ear throughout the performance, rather than sitting back in teeth-gritting terror.

An ever-changing video backdrop lets the audience know we’re in a Fritz Lang Metropolis-esque landscape. A landscape where tedium reigns and paperwork dominates, yet where creativity and colour stand out.

For the stunt lovers there is plenty to gawp at. The Chinese Pole section is paired with blasting dance music as high-energy performers first clamber up the pole only to hurtle down towards the ground head-first, stopping with their faces just inches from the floor. Flips, tricks and turns abound in the Teeterboard and Banquine sections, while the German Wheel is a solid display of human strength, dexterity and agility.

Not all is perfect. There’s a decidedly shaky opening Hand to Hand sequence, and a particular contortion display — while beautifully staged — is affected by the primary performer’s reluctance to fully extend (seemingly due to balance issues). But herein lies the beauty of Cirkopolis: it’s not trying to be perfect.

Cirque Éloize demands its performers to be multidisciplinary, and this appreciation for the entire art form, rather than a focus on one particular area, gives Cirkopolis an edge. You see the same performers return time and time again to take on new challenges and each of them exudes a real warmth. They are true performers, playing to the crowd, and you can’t help but like them.

Humour is present too, mostly in the form of the endearing clown character (Ashley Carr), giving a masterclass in modern clowning. It's certainly a departure from honking noses and squirty flowers. But for heart, the Cyr Wheel section cannot be beaten. Last night as Léa Toran Jenner spun, twisted and turned within her metal ring with increasing speed, the audience was so still, the only sounds were her short, intermittent huffs of breath. Exquisite.

Cirkopolis is at Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT until 28 February. Tickets cost £15-£42 and can be booked online or via the Ticket Office on 0844 412 4300. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary review ticket.

Last Updated 19 February 2015