The first real creation under the marquee since Volta, in 2017, Echo, officially launched on Thursday evening, is a response to the (forced) silence of recent years. An ambitious, modern and unifying show, which relies on the strength of the group.
Expectations were still high. The Cirque has been working on this acrobatic piece for almost four years. If he had to miss his target…
First strangely baptized Under the same sky, the argument summed up by creative director Chantal Tremblay in 2020 has nevertheless remained the same: “The adventure of a show under a big top. A show where we are all gathered under the same roof, in the same tent, connected to each other. »
Somali-born director Mukhtar Omar Sharif Mukhtar – who took over from English choreographer Es Devlin along the way – added during a media encounter: “It’s a piece centered on this idea of connection, unity and collaboration. »
Here’s what to remember about the “spirit” of this new Cirque du Soleil production.
For the rest of the narrative explained to yours truly over the past few months, our disconnection from the animal world, our threatened survival, our reconnection with nature, etc., let’s say that we are more in the inner dialogue. You will tell your own story, no one will judge you.
Echo therefore opens in a very pretty way with the appearance of a huge cube, which will be the main scenographic element of the room (designed by Es Devlin).
The four faces of the moving cube serve as projection surfaces while acrobats (wearing white paper clothes and animal heads) perform an acrodance number on it – suspended by harnesses.
Note that about twenty minutes after the start of the show, a technical problem led to a five-minute interruption.
A little later, another group of acrobats will steal the show – Ethiopian artists.
First with a breathtaking number of Icarian games – a discipline very little practiced here (and very difficult!) where a carrier lying on his back launches a flyer in the air with his feet. This issue also received a well-deserved ovation. Then, with a number eleven of banquine, human frame and other ground-air acrobatics. With pastel-colored costumes that exude happiness!
The enthusiasm, energy and smiles of these artists are undoubtedly what brings us closest to the collaborative spirit of Echo, punctuated by the sound of electroacoustic music by Jade Pybus and Andy Theakstone, who also sing in chorus .
Flying mast number seven (wow!) is the same caliber, as is soft wire number two inside the burning cube (beautiful!) or capillary suspension number (ouch!).
Throughout the duration of the show, the cube will crack, open, empty, fill, close… A bit like the world in which we live.
This theme of the collective did not prevent the Cirque from presenting a few individual numbers such as a number of elastic straps (nice), where the Brazilian artist Lucas Coelho was first surrounded by the rest of the troupe (a simple idea, but effective ). Unfortunately, he found himself alone after a few minutes…
Same scenario during the Washington trapeze number (a motorized trapeze on which the French artist Louana Seclet performs head-balancing figures). When the troupe surrounds the trapeze artist, there is a tremendous energy that emerges from the stage towards the room.
Moreover, the contortion number (not necessary) appears to us as an error. Just like the diabolo number, even if it is well executed. These numbers are, in our humble opinion, derivatives of Echo. We’ll get over it.
A word about the comedy duo of the night: Double Trouble. The Franco-Italian pair essentially have fun stacking cardboard boxes. They are rather funny, and above all, their presence is well balanced.
The final number with (three!) seesaws – even if it is performed by nine artists – is impressive, we are of course in the prowess, but the disembodied prowess, which struggles to anchor itself to the narrative of Echo. This number could have been presented in any Cirque show, which is never a good observation.
Fortunately, there are still those small symbolic gestures that reinforce the theme of unity and connection, such as that of the main character, who climbs a giant at the end of the first part (we will not say more for not spoil the surprise), and which will place a small cube in the big one at the very end, revealing a thousand images of this strained nature.
A great way to end this show under an abundant marquee, which is certainly one of the most ambitious in recent years.