Cirque du Soleil paid a vibrant tribute to Guy Lafleur as part of its summer series inaugurated at the Cogeco amphitheater in Trois-Rivières on Wednesday evening. An acrobatic piece that retraces the great moments in the career of the famous number 10.
With its organist perched on a platform, these huge illuminated hockey sticks placed on either side of the stage, the appearance of flowerbeds and a scoreboard suspended from the ceiling, we would have thought we were in the old Forum de Montréal.
The show began with the jingle of La soirée du hockey, performed on the organ. Circus performers entering the stage with inline skates.
When director Fernand Rainville said he wanted to recreate “the atmosphere of a game and the energy of the game”, he was not kidding. That’s exactly what Guy! Guy! Guy! fact, while titillating the feeling of nostalgia of the spectators who followed the matches of the Canadian at the time when they won…
For a little over 90 minutes, Cirque retraced the great moments of Guy Lafleur’s career, with several audio and video extracts in support, which notably allowed us to review several very beautiful goals from the blond demon. Quotes from relatives are also projected on a screen.
The performances of the circus artists echo those of the famous hockey player, but Lafleur remains THE star of the show. It’s as if they had taken care not to eclipse the prowess of our Guy. Aside from three or four issues, all the attention is on The Flower.
It is through the eyes of a little boy who plays hockey himself that we discover — or rediscover — the man and the hockey player from Thurso. His years in Montreal, but also in New York and Quebec.
Frankly, there was a huge risk in the design of this tribute show. Risk of sycophancy and overflow of good feelings towards one of our greatest sports stars. You also run the risk of falling into the little boy who dreams of being like his idol…
However, the creative team manages to avoid these two pitfalls. First, the boy’s presence is rather discreet, and serves as a pretext for discovering parts of Lafleur’s life – that the youngest do not know. And then even if there are many good feelings vis-à-vis the star player, the foray into Lafleur’s life is done with taste and even at times with humor.
Let’s talk a bit about the circus anyway… There is, as we mentioned earlier, a lot of extras in Guy! Guy! Guy! question of leaving all the room to the star player.
Nevertheless, the Circus scored points with its number four on the Chinese rings, where the artists multiply the acrobatic figures. Other highlights: acrobatics on skates with three ramps placed in the foreground. But also an aerial fabric number (with a goalkeeper’s net), on the piece That’s Life, interpreted by France Castel, after the announcement of the retirement of number 10 of the Canadian.
Finally, we were treated to a beautiful moment of grace – and magnificent orange lighting (by Yves Aucoin) – with this balancing act, which made a link with the poems that Lafleur wrote in his hotel room. Here’s something we didn’t know… All this on a piece composed by Philippe Brault.
The musician, arranger and musical director of the show has also composed several other pieces, while drawing on the repertoire of the 1970s and 1980s to give rhythm to Guy’s various paintings! Guy! Guy! We were able to hear Wow, by André Gagnon, Aimes-tu la vie? by Boule Noire, Je suis cool, by Gilles Valiquette or J’voulais pas y aller by Robert Charlebois.
A word about the comedian of the evening, Sébastien Tardif, who hosted the evening with a lot of humour. First by picking up a spectator named Guy, who he kindly laughed at during the whole performance, then by clowning around as a referee, in particular.
The show could have ended with the very beautiful painting of this tightrope walker walking in the dark on the play Always alive, by Gerry Boulet. But the Cirque has sinned by excess here, as it unfortunately does regularly… Preferring to continue the show with an aerobatic number, which had nothing to do with the subject. Damage.
Fortunately, the show ended on a more solemn note, with the number 10 jersey hoisted. A touching moment that ended Guy! Guy! Guy! like it should be. With this audio extract of Lafleur, during his induction into the Hall of Fame, which speaks of pride and passion, and which concludes with this pearl: “Playing hockey is not a job, he says, it’s a game… where you have to win as often as possible.”