traces, peacock theatre

Traces - The 7 Fingers
Traces – The 7 Fingers

Last night I managed to get last minute tickets to take my daughter to see Traces at the Peacock Theatre.  Traces is the latest show from The 7 Fingers (Les 7 doigts de la main) from Quebec.

Aged between about 23-27, the 7 performers were actually from all over the globe, Canada, USA, Australia, France & China – and we knew that because they actually told us during the show.  It was actually a lovely twist to inject some personality and a LOT of humour into their performance. It certainly made my 15 year old have a favourite (Kevin from the USA whose trapeze dance she particularly enjoyed).

They certainly had a lot of skill between them – all were fantastic acrobats and very cool clowns (not a painted smile in sight, but the clowning was certainly part of the act), but individually there were outstanding performances on the trapeze, Chinese pole, Chinese hoops (as per photo), hand to hand, teeterboard, diabolo, cyr wheel and aerial strap.

I have seen all of these on stage before, and possibly by more ‘polished’ troupes, but there was something wonderfully quirky, fun and totally engaging about Trances that had the audience on their feet giving them a standing ovation as soon as they had finished.

And my daughter? She thinks EVERYONE should go and see it 🙂  They’re on at the Peacock until 12th July.

the night circus – erin morgenstern

The Night Circus

I read this with my book club, and I have to admit, I had never heard of it til we put it to a vote.  I definitely voted for it as it sounded totally intriguing.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves (the circus of dreams), and it is only open at night.

Set in the first few years of the 20th century, Celia and Marco are apprentices to two magicians that have bound them together in a contest of which they do not know the rules, their opponent or even how the winner will be decided.  And the circus is their battleground.

However, this doesn’t turn out to be the kind of battle you would expect.

I shouldn’t have enjoyed this book.  One of the first things I do with ‘actual’ books before I buy them is flick through and make sure there is some dialogue.  I am not a fan of description-heavy text.  I hate it when I think that authors have got out their thesaurus, book of metaphors and made their prose as flowery as possible.  I can’t stand superfluous words.

This book is full of long, eloquent descriptions – and yet I loved it.  The characters in the book are unbelievable, unrealised and shallow – and yet I loved it.  There wasn’t really any plot to the story – and yet I loved it.

The descriptions of the circus, and the magic within every inch of it is absolutely breathtaking.  I could smell the smoke from the fire, taste the beautifully crafted delicacies, feel the cold of the snow in the Ice Garden and I picture myself wearing monochrome with a splash of red for the rest of my life!

More than anything, the effect of the book was so visual that I can’t actually believe that the circus doesn’t exist – although there is no way on Earth that it possibly could as it is a thing of magic…but honestly, it felt more like a precise description of something solid.

I feel deprived that I can’t experience it.

Part of me hopes that someone makes this into a film, but another part of me knows that nothing in reality will be able to capture the ethereal images that the reader can create in their own mind.

I loved this book.  It is my favourite book that I have read in months.  I can forgive it all of its sins (and yes, it did have quite a few flaws).  It is beautiful, haunting and the imagery will stay with me for a very long time.  I will end on a quote from the book.

“I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark.”

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