Picture: Heels on wheels –Skaters Jeronimo Ernesto and Jessica Ritchie spin at breakneck speed. (Le Noir Productions)
Le Noir – March 21, 2015
Directed by Neil Dorward
Season: 19 March – 4 April 2015-03-30
Le Noir was, as the French would say, “Incroyable!” It was an exhilarating night filled with performances that I found amazing.
The show included a diverse range of acts, each appealing to the audience in a different way. These were led and introduced by the amusing Master of Ceremonies, who artfully incorporated audience participation into the performance.
He chose audience members who, albeit a little reluctantly at first, took part in skits and gags in a way they never would have anticipated when arriving at the theatre, definitely putting themselves out there!
It made me laugh the most I had in a very long time, and I think I may have even cried a little from the hilarity. The effect of the Master of Ceremonies’ segments served as relief for the audience, in between being shocked and amazed by the acts.
The sheer variety of acts is a sign of the great talent in the Le Noir ensemble and each time I thought they had revealed every trick in the book, they managed to surprise me again.
Highlights of the show included trapeze, which is one of the most technically difficult acts requiring incredible upper body strength, yet it was made to look effortless by the performers.
Then, on a small stage 1.5 metres in diameter, two skaters spun rapidly, attached to each other just metres away from the audience. The climax of the show featured the Wheel of Death, a truly hair-raising act. Two acrobats performed within and on top of a pair of spinning wheels, rotating high above the stage. I found myself, and the people around me, gasping through genuine fear for their safety and left aghast when they managed to pull off stunt after stunt.
Le Noir exhibits talent that can only be properly appreciated in live performance. The extreme strength and agility of the human body was astounding and highlights the maximal limits that the body can be pushed to achieve.
The show was staged as theatre in the round, with seats on the Lyric Theatre’s usual Proscenium Arch stage, surrounding the round stage area. While the people seated on the stage must have had a fantastic up-close experience, they were also targeted for audience participation – something to be wary of if you don’t have an extroverted personality!
Angela Aaron’s costume designs for the performers were sultry and seductive and show the progression of the show, going from white, to red, to black. Music, composed by Julian Wiggins, continually set the atmosphere for the performances, building tension and suspense, causing the audience to breathe in a collective breath in anticipation of the incredible feats on stage.
Lighting also complemented the performance, at some points creating party ambience, and other times giving the impression that you are peering through the darkness, witnessing a more intimate performance.
Le Noir is the type of circus performance that you cannot see everyday, and a form of live entertainment that is not often easily accessible. It is a performance to catch while it is still hot in Sydney, and I assure you, you will be blown away.