It’s circus as performance art and beards across the board when the Québécois Cirque Alfonse brings Barbu to the Sydney Opera House.
Following the success of Timber! (Sydney Festival 2015) and Barbu (Adelaide Fringe 2016), these big-bellied carnies from Canada’s francophone heartland make their Opera House debut – and stray dangerously close to the edge.
Barbu flings the audience into a fairground time warp of kooky curiosities and feats of spellbinding strength and skill, all inspired by Montreal’s burgeoning circus scene at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.
This is contemporary circus minus political correctness and replete with witty repartee, golf clubs, nails, beer-kegs, hula-hoops, roller skates and a liberal dash of nudity.
An electro trad band – electronic music fused with traditional Quebec folk composed by André Gagné and David Simard – transform this heady mix into an exuberant circus rave set to compelling projected visuals by Frédéric Barrette (Cirque du Soleil: Solstrom).