‘Cirque Bon Bon’ was magnifique.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen, Bienvenue mesdames et messieurs, to the seductive, the tantalizing, ‘Cirque Bon Bon!’ With shadows cast across the stage and gorgeously clad dancers moving in swift motion across a raised platform at the back of the Powerhouse Theatre, senses are ignited and a fire lit in the centre of our hearts from the very first beat. Translating literally to ‘Circus Candy,’ ‘Cirque Bon Bon’ is a scrumptious treat for both the eyes and ears as some of Australia’s (and the world’s) greatest circus artists perform in stunning collaboration for JACs Entertainment.
The daring acts of gravity-defying aerials or insane feats of human flexibility weren’t alone in making ‘Cirque Bon Bon’ the unique and perfect show that it was. By combining these unbelievable acts with emotive lighting and stirring music choices, every element of the performance was amplified to create a cirque experience unlike any other.
Lighting is crucial in eliciting emotion and the designers for ‘Cirque Bon Bon’ did not miss a single beat in constructing its design to go from pulling heartstrings, to setting up a party atmosphere. Bright par cans zipped and whirled around the stage to amplify the enjoyment of the party vibe and bright spotlights cast heavy shadows and stark contrasts during intense and daring moments. There wasn’t a single lighting choice that wasn’t expertly chosen for the specific act on stage and the impressiveness of the performance at hand was truly elevated to new heights as a result.
In similar fashion, the music composition was incredibly well put together, utilising a stark contrast in genres to continually change the emotional output of the audience. Described as “Cirque Du Soleil meets Queen,” there was certainly no disappointment on either front, with ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ making hilarious appearances during the show. In complete juxtaposition to those comedy routines, the selection shifted to slow, powerful and superbly recorded covers of well-known pop songs for the acrobatic performances. The blending of these elements is to be highly commended for amplifying the overall emotional connection to the performance and leaving the audience loving every second of the 90-minute show.
Of course, the real heroes of the night were the cast of insanely talented circus, dance and comedy performers led by the internationally acclaimed comedy host, Mario Queen of the Circus. Juggling at the circus is like having coffee at breakfast; you don’t have to have it, or you may not like it, but it kind of just makes sense. Mario Queen of the Circus juggling, however, is like toast; it’s pretty much an essential item. While Mario Queen of the Circus only used a maximum of five balls, his routine was supremely engaging, hilarious and one of the most unique performances I have seen. On top of being a brilliant circus performer, his hosting skills were insurmountable and he remained captivating throughout the evening with side-splitting comedy and silly little routines.
The host of local talent shone throughout the evening, highlighted by Gold Coast based Duo Synergy, who performed a range of Adagio and rollerskating acrobatics. Scott Reynolds and Emma Goh, who make up the duo, worked brilliantly as a pairing and the intertwining dance moves and balancing acts they performed needed to be seen to be believed. Their skills were technically very impressive and the flexibility, strength and maneuverability they displayed was world-class.
Continuing on the Gold Coast line was contortionist extraordinaire, Shannen Jones, who, for good reason, has become known as “the girl with no bones.” After just a few moments of her act, it was easy to see how she got the nickname as she maneuvered her body into positions that should not physically be possible. She displayed stunning poise, balance and skill and completed her set with an incredible feat of firing a bow and arrow, upside down, using only her feet.
Aerials by Circus Stephen (Stephen Williams) were beautifully choreographed and unique in their execution. Utilising a bathtub of water and absorbent pants, he performed on the aerial silks while flicking and spraying water across the audience. His routine was superbly well lit and the escalating beat of the music elevated the strength of his performance and the emotive response of the audience.
Cabaret and drag star Miss Poodle shone in a French inspired burlesque number during which she converted a well-behaved French maid act into a can-can style dance, backed by Art vs Science’s ‘Parlez-Vous Francais.’ In a similar comparison, aerial contortionist Ashleigh Roper delivered a dynamic hoop piece that was set to a heart-wrenching cover, emphasising once more the strong pairing of music and circus.
Of course, one can not forget the cast of gorgeous dancers that weaved their way through the various routines, assisting the circus artists, as well as delivering flowing and mesmerizing numbers themselves. Their costumes were alluring and beautifully crafted and complemented the soft movements of their routines.
Whether it was the stunning dance numbers, or the death-defying aerials, every element of ‘Cirque Bon Bon’ delivered on its promise of being a “playful journey of wonder.” The depth of talented artists worked flawlessly together to bring the show to life and captured a truly emotional response of amazement and sheer joy from the packed Powerhouse audience. The only disappointing thing is its incredibly short run, so get in quick while you can!
‘Cirque Bon Bon’ performed until Saturday, 4 December, 2021 at the Brisbane Powerhouse. For more information visit the Brisbane Powerhouse website.