Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay
Mon 15-Wed 17 Mar
Was that last adaptation of Romeo and Juliet you went to see too soppy? Is it true that Les Misérables was just too musical for your tastes? Did you walk out of Waiting for Godot before the interval because you were too impatient to join Vladimir and Esragon? If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of those questions it is clear you are the kind of theatre-goer who literally needs your performers to jump through hoops to captivate you.
Fortunately, if this is the case, there is a production catered specifically for the likes of you. Traces is cirque with a difference, a breathtaking exploration of the limits of human movement and acrobatics balanced with entertaining anecdotes and a soundtrack that, for all its merits and diversity, could be taken straight out of Huw Stephens’ playlist.
The production, from Montreal-based company 7 Fingers, sees five characters take refuge in a building resembling a deserted factory, anticipating an unspecified disaster. The resulting mentality is something that epitomizes the carpe diem philosophy; here, the name Traces functions as a powerful reminder of our mortality and triggers a drive to leave an impression through whatever talent possible. Indeed, through their extreme energy and incorporation of skills as diverse as illustration, piano-playing, basketball and street dancing, 7 Fingers present the view that only through creation can we counter whatever malignant forces lurk outside.
It is the contrast between a fragile, existential recognition of mortality with an awe-inspiring display of super-human strength and ability that makes this circus act so superior to red painted smiles and a tame lion.