Cirque Alphonse: Tabarnak
Inspired by the village church that was once the gathering place of their small Quebec community, Cirque Alfonse have travelled from Canada to bring us one of the most exhilarating acts of this year’s Fringe. Tabarnak is an expletive used to protest outrage at authority. As the word suggests, it gets your attention.
When the audience enter the hall the performance has already begun. The space looks like a giant bric-a-brac store; performers dressed in white coats and bowling shoes are scattered among the clutter, some crocheting, others playing hockey. This weird and wonderful beginning gives you a small taste of what is to come, because this circus is anything but mundane; it will make you laugh as much as gawk.
Tumbling acrobats catapult through the air, balance on beams, roller skate and amaze us with their feats of strength and balance. All this is happening to the fast-paced beat of a talented bunch of musicians located upstage. Percussion keeps the tempo, as performers sing traditional tunes and stamp their feet. The vibe in the hall is one of rejoicing and it is hard to judge who is having more fun, the performers or the audience.
Church pews double as balancing beams. A giant stained-glass window is the platform for a hypnotic dance. This circus is a celebration and stirs up memories of the past in their hometown.
The show is a riot! Cirque Alphonse have continued their high-standard in this genre. On the night I attended, the audience leapt to their feet in appreciation of the fabulous company of bearded brutes, cheeky lasses and bold musicians.