French-Canadian crew Cirque Alfonse has returned and they’re here to remind you of the weird and wonderful that Adelaide Fringe Festival has to offer. BARBU is back by popular demand.
Based in Montreal, Cirque Alfonse have become mainstays of the Adelaide Fringe, bringing us their sensational show, Tabarnak, in 2018. This year we’re lucky enough to have them performing both shows, adding to the impressive bill for RCC in 2019. BARBU is an electronic-cabaret exploration into circus that will leave you thrilled, confused, and highly impressed all at once.
With the majority of the circus troupe—burly bearded men—performing tremendous acrobatics and various feats of circus, there are also two equally remarkable women performing acts of contortion, strength and balance. There is also another perplexing character there for comedic relief, but probably goes too far into the world of obscurity for the crowd to build genuine warmth towards him.
The rest of the crew are musicians, including an enigmatic DJ and powerful drummer, complementing the show with haunting electronic melodies, hypnotic beats behind traditional lyrics of Quebec. These are a highlight unto themselves, leaving the crowd in awe from start to finish. The accompanying pre-recorded visuals push this show into a realm of bizarre theatrics where the energy is explosive and the amusement aplenty.
This cast clearly loves what they do, as they often delve into the aisles of Adelaide University’s Bonython Hall to remind you that you’re there to party with them. The smiles are genuine and the ensuing dancing will have you pondering how this collection of sensory indulgences provides such a unique circus experience.
While BARBU is certainly an unforgettable Fringe experience, I daresay that Tabarnak is the more exhilarating of Cirque Alfonse’s offerings. Both, however, are distinctive insights into French-Canadian circus, with the creative flair ensuring a smile on your face for money well spent.
★★★★ 4/5 stars
BARBU’s season has ended. Tabarnak is playing in Bonython Hall at Gluttony, every night until the 17th March (excluding Mondays). Tickets available online or at The Fringe Box Office.