What’s On: Cirque Alfonse Presents Timber!
From the remote forests of Québec, three generations of the family circus troupe, Cirque Alfonse, travel to London to present the UK premiere of Timber!
Wednesday 10 – Wednesday 31 July, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, as part of Southbank Centre’s Festival of Neighbourhood with MasterCard Southbank Centre announces Timber!, a circus show featuring a family from the remote forests of Québec, who juggle axes and perform daring aerial acrobatics and stunts with lumberjack saws, alongside clog-dancing, tight-rope walking, cooking, vegetable chopping and storytelling. Timber! is set to traditional music, with fiddles, banjos, a jaw harp and rowdy singing as the live accompaniment to this daredevil, heart-warming show.
Cirque Alfonse is made up of three generations of one Québécois family – 66-year-old Grandfather and amateur clown Alain Carabinier, his two children, Antoine, 32, and Julie, 29, who are a trained circus acrobat and a trained dancer respectively, Julie’s partner Jonathan, 32, a trained circus acrobat who has performed in Cirque Du Soleil’s Love, and their 2-year-old son, Arthur. The family are supported by live musicians, two of whom are friends of the family who grew up in villages nearby. Cirque Alfonse are the latest in a long line of circus greats to emerge from Quebec – joining Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Eloize and les 7 doigts de la main on the world stage. Members of Cirque Alfonse have worked with all of these world-renowned companies.
The company hail from an area rich in roots music, call-and-response singing, fiddle and banjo playing and traditional dance. The show is steeped in the folklore, traditions and aesthetic of Québec’s lumberjack, logging and farming heritage. Music is at the heart of the show – with traditional songs mixed with new numbers composed by violinist David Simard and David Boulanger, of hit Québécois folk band La Bottine Souriante. The action is set in a lumber-camp, a set created by Alain Carabinier, where there is merriment and mischief on an outhouse and the company juggle and chop vegetables at high speed for the family stew pot. Beards, muscles, checked lumberjack shirts and long-johns abound, and staying true to their roots, the axes, saws and knives used in the show are genuine and sharpened and the cast don’t wear steel toe-capped boots or any protection other than gloves. Taking authenticity to new heights, when Cirque Alfonse rehearse in their unheated Québécois barn, they saw wood as a warm-up to their rehearsals.
Timber! comes to Southbank Centre after its world premiere at the Montréal Completely Circus Festival in 2011, and extensive touring in Québec, Switzerland and France. A programme of participatory workshops will run alongside the Southbank Centre shows.
The HOT Deets
When? Wednesday 10 – Wednesday 31 July 2013, performance times vary, see website for details
Where? Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
How Much? Tickets start from £15, Concessions 50% off (limited availability) available from www.southbankcentre.co.uk or by calling 0844 847 9944
Image Credit: Timothy Cochrane and Southbank Centre.