There is a moment in Le 7 Doigts de la Main‘s Traces, just before the interval, when one of the performers climbs a metal pole using his hands and feet. In most shows this would be a highlight, a moment of awe for the audience to take in. In Traces the athletisism on display is such that this one doesn‘t even register, it‘s a warm up for another move that leaves the audience breathless.
There isn’t a single moment in this play that would look out of place at the Olympics in the discipline of Gymnastics. There are others that are quite parkour-esque, others that would seem at home on the fringe and others that look like they are from a clown workshop. It‘s remarkable that nothing looks out of place.
What seperates this from so many other Circus performances is the intimacy. The performers open up about their personalities, sing love songs to each other, crack awful (and great) jokes and even take sips from waterbottles on stage. They even screw up a couple of them as they reach for moves that are slightly out of their skill range. It is charming, reapetedly. It also may feature the most exciting scene; that of someone reading a book on the history Of the West End.
Each performer gets a scene in which they make the difficult look commonplace, the incredible look easy and the impossible look merely effortless. Between sets they laugh, sing in chinese and play pick-up basketball before sponteniously jumping into routines and dances. Underlying is a sense of vunrebility and humour.
By the end, most of the audience are holding their breath. The routines get ridiculous by the end and more than one person mumbles ‘No way!’ as each new acrobatic feat is being set up. Each time though, they not only do them but exceed the expectations. Traces defines the word breathtaking, a wonder of an evening. 4.5/5
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
Traces is currently showing at the Peacock Theatre (Sadler’s Wells) until Sunday 12 July. For more information on the production, visit here…