Cirque Alfonse: BARBU
An unexpected bonanza of awe and delight
Cirque Alfonse: BARBU is one of the first Fringe acts to be showcased in the RCC’s new location, and their feature premises – Bonython Hall. When the beautiful heritage hall was designed in 1933, Bonython insisted upon a sloping floor so that the hall would not be used for frivolity such as dancing. Fast forward to 2019 and not only was the hall filled with frivolity and dancing, but burly naked bodies, performing to a packed house, to roaring applause.
Cirque Alfonse: BARBU ticks every box you’d want from a Fringe show.
Eclectic, quirky live music sets the scene, from a DJ who lords over the stage, a perfectly timed drummer and a third multi-talented musician, who easily set the mood and bring the party to every part of the show. There’s also an oddly disturbing comedic character in the show, who you love but are also left feeling very confused by.
The stars of the show are four solid bearded men, strongmen in style, who take their origins from Quebec circus grounds of old. Their incredible feats of strength, acrobatics and balance while gracefully flipping and spinning across the stage are beautifully at contrast to the usual etherial waifs you see in the acrobatic space. You’ll see everything from catapulting flips, to pole dancing, keg tossing (filled with beer no less), and plenty of human pyramids. And then, when you least expect it, graceful twirls, smirks, and plenty of comedy thrown in. The men are having a fabulous time and are happy to share that with the audience. It may have been because it was only their second night of the season, but the odd mis-step with some juggling feats, allowed the team to loosen up and have a laugh at their own expense. It also endeared the audience to them more-so, and let us in to their world. Alongside the four men, were two incredible women, who also displayed extreme feats of strength, balance, and contortion, and teamed up well with the men for a number of unbelievable feats.
Having seen Barbu a few years ago in Victoria Square, the show has many similarities to the first performance I saw, however it was definitely worth seeing again. There were enough new elements to stay entertained throughout the show, and the more comfortable setting of being in a building vs a tent, means the new location will endure Adelaide’s brutal summer heat a little better. It’s not easy to see all the tricks from the back of the room though, so get in early to grab a good seat.
BARBU is a brilliant combination of all things Fringe.
Note: Nudity warning (it’s not often but it’s there)
Season dates: Feb 15 – March 3
Price: $40.00 (Fringe Members), $45 concessions & $55.00 otherwise
Time: 7:45pm on show dates