Bad, bearded BARBU

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Sara Fitz­patrick

IF you had just one word to wrap up French-Cana­dian cir­cus spec­tac­u­lar BARBU, it would be – beards.

Hairy, un­tamed, manly – not hip­ster – beards.

Ev­ery male in the troupe – ex­cept DJ David Si­mard who is sim­ply mous­tached – sports one.

BARBU cre­ator and per­former, An­toine Cara­binier Lepine – who has worn his whiskered fix­ture for six years – said fa­cial hair had be­come the col­lec­tive’s brand, and was not a mere fash­ion state­ment.

“Be­fore BARBU (which means bearded in French) we had an­other show called Tim­ber! and we needed beards for that be­cause it was a lum­ber­jack cir­cus show,” he said.

“After that, we de­cided to keep them.

“They some­times get in the way: when we climb on each other we have to be care­ful where we put our feet.”

Cara­binier Lépine founded world-renowned com­pany Cirque Al­fonse in 2005 after putting on a show for his fa­ther’s 60th birth­day.

Com­pris­ing his sis­ter, brother-in-law and friends, the group cre­ates cheeky cir­cus acts, bear­ing mus­cles, beards and sweat, and mix­ing var­i­ous art­forms to­gether.

“Peo­ple are re­ally close to us and it’s not that of­ten you can see bod­ies like ours per­form­ing what we are do­ing,” Cara­binier Lepine said.

“We also wanted to keep tra­di­tional Que­bec roots. All the mu­sic in Al­fonse is tra­di­tional folk, but in BARBU, we de­cided to mix it up with elec­tro mu­sic – kind of a cir­cus rave.”

The 35-year-old dis­cov­ered his call­ing at 14 in his home city of Mon­treal.

“My fa­ther took me to see a Na­tional Cir­cus School show and when I saw it, I fell in love,” Cara­binier Lépine said. “I told my par­ents that I re­ally wanted to do cir­cus and they sup­ported me and I man­aged to en­ter the Na­tional Cir­cus School in Mon­treal. Since then it has been my life and it is go­ing to be it for me, un­til I’m un­able to do it.

“I’ve been do­ing cir­cus for al­most 20 years. We train a lot and have done so many shows over the years, but we are still alive!”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d464283

BARBU: Dar­ing, daft and sexy as hell, BARBU con­jures a strange and won­der­ful world.

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