• Montréal Complètement Cirque

    Malaje - The Flamenco Circus

    Entering the festival scene fully-formed in 2010 with a mighty first edition shaped by over $3 million(!) of local and government funding, the inaugural Montréal Complètement Cirque pulled in the big names (Cirque Eloize, The 7 Fingers, Cirque du Soleil), but, commendably, gave them equal billing with the smaller and less renowned companies. The festival is run in part by La TOHU, an outer-space, far-future venue heated in winter by the diverted biogas of a nearby excavation site and cooled in summer by the immense 'ice bunker' that lies beneath the reception floor.

    In 2011 there are some returning companies – Cirque du Soleil, who perform their bland and meaningless Totem; Cirque Carpe Diem, who will set up an outdoor rig for some flying trapeze thrills; and the Belgian company Les Zyrgomatik, back for another run of their clown show Tous cousins! – but there are also new companies and shows in the mix. Sideshow has fallen in love with Cirque Alfonse's Timber! based entirely on this video, but there's also a new solo show, Patinoire, by 7 Fingers co-founder Patrick Léonard (Les Sept Doigts aren't Sideshow's favourite, but who knows – strange things come out in solos), Mélissa Von Vépy's interrogation of her image and self-image, Miroir, Miroir, performed on a hanging, rotating mirror that she climbs around and through, and a visit to Canada from Le Cirque Invisible. It's a pretty big programme, so hit up the site for the full picture.

    « There are lots of good companies at the festival – Cirque Éloize and Les 7 doigts de la main being the local residents, and then a good deal of European companies brought out there specially. Complètement Cirque is basically organised for the benefit of the public – everything's programmed at the same time. So all shows were on at 7.30 around the city, meaning that for performers it was practically impossible to go and see any other shows, but for the public, easy. Just 7.30 every night, choose your show, go and see it... As we were arriving it was the tail-end of the Montreal Jazz Festival, so the last five or six days of the Jazz Festival overlapped and we were lucky enough to see a little of that. And then the comedy festival Juste Pour Rire began and ran alongside Complètement Cirque and had quite a lot of street performance involved in it. So it's a really busy, vibrant city, especially at that time of year, in August. »

    Howie Morley, performer with NoFit State (who presented tabú at Complètement Cirque 2010)

  • Magazine

    By John Ellingsworth on 31 August 2011 in Features

    "'This is the hat room.' The group shuffles round and strafes in that way to get a view through the window's narrow aperture: rows of long workbenches and sewing machines, fabric, mannequins. In a glass case by the door there's a small display of hats, or more broadly headgear, one item supporting long wavy bat ears and another stretched out in green-yellow, textured lizard skin. The guide is telling us that they employ fifty artisan hat-makers here, full-time."

    Sideshow visits the nuclear family at Montreal's Saint-Michel district: La TOHU, Cirque du Soleil, and the École nationale de cirque.

    By John Ellingsworth on 26 July 2011 in Reviews

    It's always worth seeing a full solo show from a longtime ensemble performer – you can get major shifts in aesthetic, scale, tone, thematic preoccupation; things just spill out.

    By John Ellingsworth on 20 July 2011 in Reviews

    As the audience enter the small tent, Compagnie Rasposo are at table – eating, reaching across each other, talking, some sitting, some standing, one man building a card tower from biscuits, musicians to the side playing a jaunty air.

    By John Ellingsworth on 19 July 2011 in Reviews

    The Circa essence is sort of this: there are ideas and concepts and emotions that inhere in circus and they fly out in the moment of performance. Trust, risk, failure, pain, vindication, joy, hardship, strength.