I recently went with my mum to see the show BARBU at the London Wonderground. Knowing full well that I was taking her to see almost naked men and women, performing in underwear and riding around the stage in glitter ball costumes and punchbags.
What could have been an super-awkward night turned out to be an absolute blast. The show forced us to let down hair, have a jolly good laugh, and gasp at spectacular stunts and some really unexpected surprises.Political correctness has no place in the madness and mayhem of this show.
BARBU, performed by Canadian circus company Cirque Alfonse, is inspired by the origins of the circus in Montreal at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Since it began, Cirque Alfonse has been exploring traditional iconic Quebec images and integrating them into a truly innovative form of contemporary acrobatics.
One of the most iconic moments of the performance is delivered by Antoine Carabinier-Lépine (aka – the guy in the disco ball). It was a performance my mind couldn’t quite understand, gravity couldn’t define, and that I promise you, is like nothing you’ve ever seen. I had an opportunity to catch up with the awesome cast, and Antoine himself ahead of show about what to expect.
There were parts of the show with stunts where I felt like things almost went wrong, but if anything, this added to the suspense. If anything, it prompted an awareness that these are real people, and not superhuman alien acrobats. The cast of BARBU (particularly the men) are average sized people, who with much strength and training can do things that I can’t, but who are just like me in many ways. This made me appreciate the show a lot more than many others I’ve seen. I felt like Cirque Alfonso as a team were vulnerable to the audience, and in return we were open-minded too.
I don’t get to visit performances in London as often as I ought to, and BARBU was a reminder of how much fun it is, and how I will get to see more of London this summer. This is a brilliant and fun show, full of culture, laughter and the perfect distraction from some of the City’s stresses. BARBU plays at London Wonderground, London, SE1 8XX until 25 September 2016. Tickets are from £26. To book, visit www.londonwonderground.co.uk