Theatre 0 Comedy"- Dance




Cirque Eloize is the kind of circus you want to run away to join. The company was started seven years ago by seven friends, students at Montreal's National Circus School. All of them came from Quebec's Magdalen Islands, obviously a hotbed of budding jugglers, would- be acrobats and future high-wire acts. This common origin translates into a sense of community onstage that is irresistible.

Hard to believe, but Eloize has never played in a tent until Edinburgh. Its brand of circus- theatre feels right at home under the starry Big Top. There is no room here for mangy tigers, tired elephants or dogs in ruff collars. Nor does the company settle for merely pulling off stunts with traditional ta-daaa pomposity. Eloize (pronounced ‘el-was’, it's an Islands term for ‘heat lightning') creates an especially human environment for their considerable skills.

The fifteen performers, including five musicians, play with panache and heart. In Excentricus they work a delicate but sure, emotionally generous magic. In tandem with acting coach Michel Dallaire, the show's director Christine Rossignol has encouraged the cast to develop characters. Muscular Daniel Cyr carries a torch for the sparkling, flirtatious trapezist Marie-Eve Dumais. How does he express his ardour? By rolling round inside a hoop, and practically making love to his ladder, both feats of derring-do subtler and rarer than usually seen in circus. Or take Jamie Adkins. Disguising his protean gift for everything from juggling to unicycling in bumbling slapstick, this eager-beaver bumpkin finally comes into his own on the slack-wire (another lesser- known circus talent).

Perfect tents: Excentricus

Sylvain Dubois rides his bicycle with breezy, dapper delight. Shockheaded Robert Bourgeois contributes some robust acrobatic clowning. Ariane Darche and Antoine M. Gagnon are sensually smooth on the aerial cradle. Occasional flurries of collective comic chaos are overseen by bassist Pat Donaldson, a ringmaster figure of ghoulish propriety. None of them just do their shtick and vanish. This is circus as a social family; everyone has a part to play. The band keeps plugging away with jazzy, romantic raucousness.

There is no storyline per se, but proceedings reach a dramatic climax when the compact rope-climber Marcus risks someone else's safety. The effects of his action, the group's response, and the eventual resolution are unexpectedly moving. And life-affirming. Eloize counters the bombast of their groundbreaking Quebecois compatriots, Cirque du Soleil, via a blend of fun, fine-spun thrills and great, vest-pocket charm. This is circus that leaves an afterglow. (Donald Hutera)

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The Kaos Importance hip hop hedonist.

Wilde at heart: Kaos

level-headed granny as much as your

verbally sparring, here they resort to nipple-pinching, bottom-smacking and hair-pulling. Meanwhile Algy and Jack (Ernest) start off trying to out-pout each other and end up with a touch of eye-poking slapstick.

Butler Lane and his unnerving chorus of servants keep a menacing sneering presence on stage throughout the early scenes. As for Lady Bracknell, she’s a busty, blustering foam of pretentiousness, with the most OTT 'In a handbag' you will ever see. Even the bit parts of the Rev Canon Chasuble and Miss Prism are a delight of decrepit lustfulness in dotage.

Beautifully balletic Kaos perform like a series of big-fashion photo-shoots,

Of Being Earnest *****

Those astonishing artistes at Kaos Theatre have significantly revamped their 1997 Importance Of Being Earnest . The result is an adrenaline- pumping show, as slick as a well-oiled Chippendale but With a thousand times the style, which will enthral your

40 THE llST 26 Aug—9 Sep 1999

This interpretation of Oscar Wilde‘s 1895 comedy of manners shows how closely related post-Thatcher New Labour Britain is to the late 19th century's adoration of image over substance. Cecily and Gwendolen are in love with an idea of what someone called Ernest represents, but couldn't give a fig about the real man at all. Where Wilde's original has the two

with all cast members striking a pose at every opportunity and incorporating lots of Classic FM top ten operatic ditties. The backing track embodies laid-back sophistication.

Charming, delightful fresh-faced, fast-paced new take on a cracking classic. A must-see show.

(Gabe Stewart) I For details, see Hit list, right.

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Time is running out to catch what’s left of the best of the fest. The Kaos Importance Of Being Earnest. See review, left. The Kaos Importance Of Being Earnest (fringe) Kaos Theatre, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 29 Aug, times vary, £7.50 ([5). Cirque Eloize: Exentricus. See review, left. [xcentricus (fringe) Cirque [lo/2e, Meadows Big Top Theatre (Venue 789) 667 0202, until 29 Aug, Thu—Sat 9. 75pm, also Thu, Sat—Sun 3pm, [84. 72.50 (EB—E 70).

Supergirly World! This antipodean duo strut their funky stuff ransacking the hits of the 705, 805 and 905 in the name of giddy comedy. Supergirly World.I (Fringe) Main Theatre, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2757 until 29 Aug, 8.45pm, £9 ([8).

Paul Zenon A more nimble fingered man you will not find at this year's fringe. Also known as King Con, Zenon puts the art into trickery. Definitely not Paul Daniels. Paul Zenon: Turning Tricks (Fringe) Paul Zenon, Beck '5 famous Spi'ege/tent (Venue 87) 225 9999, 26-27 Aug, 9.30pm, £70 (£9).

Cinderella TurboZone go for all-out sensory overload with everything from 17th century grandeur to progressive techno and pyrotechnics being thrown into a genre bending mix of theatre, circus and cunning stunts See revuew in following pages. Cinderella (Fringe) TurboZone, The Quad (Venue 792) 662 8740, until 30 Aug (not 29) 9.30pm, E 72 (£9).