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IT’S CIR­CUS time in Cape Town. The Mon­treal-based com­pany Cirque Éloize is per­form­ing Cirque Éloize iD at Artscape from Novem­ber 16-27. Fol­lowspot Productions of Kalk Bay is stag­ing its fes­tive sea­son bon­sai cirque show, Au Revoir at the Kalk Bay Theatre from Novem­ber 8 to De­cem­ber 31.

One of my high­lights of the theatre year was see­ing Slava’s Snow Show at Artscape – an ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of vis­ual theatre and one of the most in­no­va­tive dis­plays of clown­ing I have seen.

Slava worked so well be­cause of the in­ti­macy of the set­ting. Many pro­mot­ers opt for an arena set­ting for cirque-type shows and much of the magic is lost in a large venue.

Show­time Man­age­ment – which brought out Slava – is treat­ing us to the ac­claimed Cirque Éloize. The pro­duc­tion was staged in Joburg in 2014 where it sold out, but was not staged in Cape Town. For the re­turn tour, we will fi­nally see it be­fore it moves to the Mon­te­casino Teatro on Novem­ber 30.

Cirque Éloize was started by Jean Pain­chaud who was a mem­ber of Cirque de Soleil. With fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from Cirque de Soleil, he started his own com­pany, sub­se­quently bought Cirque de Soleil’s shares and is now sole owner.

Hazel Feld­man of Show­time Man­age­ment saw iD when she was in Sin­ga­pore about six years ago, with Jer­sey Boys. “I hadn’t heard of this com­pany. I ab­so­lutely fell in love. It’s a cirque show but it’s hip hop meets con­tem­po­rary cir­cus. The artists wear con­tem­po­rary cloth­ing – like cut-off jeans. The show is de­signed for a theatre, not for an arena and the set is in­cred­i­ble, with mul­ti­ple me­dia and video map­ping on the walls and orig­i­nal mu­sic.”

iD stands for iden­tity. Al­though, there is no di­a­logue, there is a story line akin to West Side Story with two gangs fight­ing in an ur­ban land­scape.

Talk­ing of venues, last fes­tive sea­son Kalk Bay Theatre op­er­a­tors Vanessa Harris and Ash Searle trans­formed their 77-seater into a cir­cus tent with a cirque-styled show, Bon Soir. It was daz­zling, stylish, witty and en­er­getic. Part of the thrill was won­der­ing how per­form­ers could ex­e­cute ac­ro­batic feats in such a small area. The show sold out dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son and at The Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val.

The 2016 fes­tive edi­tion, Au Revoir, fea­tures 22 acts in 70 min­utes. The Au Revoir cast of six is dif­fer­ent to Bon Soir – ex­cept for Ash Searle. Harris, who is di­rect­ing and chore­ograph­ing muses: “I don’t want to give too much away. We have amaz­ing tal­ent, with­hints of bur­lesque, steam­punk, ac­ro­bat­ics, dance, phys­i­cal com­edy and vo­cals.”

Al­though Pi­eter-Dirk Uys can hardly be billed a cirque per­former, there are lay­ers of the straight-faced clown in his al­ter ego Evita Bezuiden­hout, who has been glam­ming it up for 35 years. With tremen­dous in­sight, pathos and mirth, she takes the mickey out of the cir­cus of pol­i­tics in this coun­try, but al­ways in­fused with hope and op­ti­mism.

See her in An Evening With Evita Bezuiden­hout – at Artscape Theatre on Novem­ber 1, 2 and 6 – as she cooks for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Luthuli House – with her three born-free grand­chil­dren kib­itz­ing over her to do the right thing.

Tick­ets for Cirque Éloize iD are R175-R425. Tick­ets cost R150 to see An Evening with Evita Bezuiden­hout. Book for both at Com­puticket or Artscape 021 421 7695. Tick­ets for Au Revoir are R155 for show (starts 8.30pm). Din­ner from 6.30pm (ala carte); two-for-the-price-of-one on Tues­days. Book at www.kalk­baythe­atre. or 021 788 7257.

Au Revoir’s

At the Kalk Bay Theatre, cast of six will fea­ture 22 acts in 70 min­utes.

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