Housed in the beautiful Hippodrome de Douai, Cirque Évolution is a high-quality, low-intensity festival that spreads its productions over ten days. The remit is to programme emerging alongside established artists; the commitment is to circus-theatre.
The programme this year opens with Ivan Mosjoukine, by far the best of the 2010 Jeunes Talents Cirque laureates, a company who pull to pieces the traditional disciplines and rebuild them as a strange, poetic, perhaps even postmodern theatre-machine. There's more young talent at the festival with an Open Stage for local circus students, and Race Horse Company (who are still on their first show but who have by this point most definitely emerged as artists) present Petit Mal. Also in the line-up, Zimmermann & de Perrot gather a motley ensemble for their technically impressive but flatly realised piece Öper Öpis, Cie MPTA perform a show inspired by John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men set on a floating, destructible stage (Du Goudron et des Plumes), and Cedric Gourmelon invites audiences to something between a performance and a dramatised reading – a piece based on and named after Jean Genet's essay 'Le Funambule' ('The Tightrope Walker').