REVIEW: FLIP Fabrique: Transit (Underbelly Festival) ★★★★★

There was a full house at the Belly Theatre for the Underbelly Festival presentation of FLIP Fabrique’s new show “Transit”. The Quebec Government Office were on hand to introduce the troop of five men and a woman as one of Quebec’s greatest exports – Circus. From their circus school graduates, the team, who have a wealth of Big Top experience, presented as a group of friends on a madcap journey by air, as a rather weak link to their various spectacular acts. They took familiar circus acts to new levels as they challenged themselves to do it bigger and better.

At the centre of much of the action was the extraordinarily strong Jonathan Julien who proved he could hold the other five in the air at once, but also performed a brilliant catching act with the brave acrobatic Jade Dussault. Without safety wires, or nets, the routines were daring and exciting. She also performed with the hula hoops while balanced on top of a large flight case. Not everything worked but enough did to prove she is a skilled performer with great poise, balance and flexibility.

Pierre Rivière took to the air on the aerial straps and we could just catch a glimpse of his colleague Cedrik Pinault counterbalancing his moves. It was a spectacular feat of strength and teamwork, to enable him to fly over the audience and the stage.

Jeremie Arsenault showed us his diabolo skills, spinning them high into the air and performing amazing catches and skips, culminating in a four diabolo routine making full use of the Belly Big Top roof. The sixth member Jasmin Blouin demonstrated snatches of fourteen supposed circus tricks in ninety seconds, each almost too quick to be fully appreciated.

However, they were at their best when they performed as an ensemble team. A brilliant skipping routine (where at times up to three ropes were spinning within each other) was a great demonstration of their skill and timing. A rather silly balletic dance of catching and spitting sweets added some humour and their juggling the multicoloured clubs had clubs passing narrowly by each other’s heads.

They saved the best for last, with the phenomenally exciting Trampo-wall where four of the male acrobats bounced on a large trampoline and then appeared to walk up the wall of flight cases to reach the top, perhaps twenty feet above the ground before acrobatically tumbling back down.

This was a five star circus act, performed with great skill and fun and although not every trick or joke worked , it provided a massively entertaining, thrilling seventy minute show which showed off Canada’s greatest export.

Reviewed by Nick Wayne


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