REVIEW: Barbu by Cirque Alfonse, London Wonderground

Cirque Alfonse returns to London with the premiere of new show Barbu, a stunning display of acrobatics and naughtiness.

Cirque Alfonse in BARBU at the Spiegeltent Credit David Jensen 2.jpg.jpg
Cirque Alfonse in Barbu. Credit: David Jensen. 

Not even a pesky power cut could derail this bizarre but entertaining show, performed by an extraordinarily talented and strong (in all senses of the word).

Although Barbu begins slowly, things begin to intensify as the show and tricks progresses. It is filled with so many flips and dizzying stunts  that are extremely close to the audience adding to the excitement and intensity.

There is no doubting that the passion and energy that all of the cast have, but the show itself is completely out there and bizarre, not making any sense outside of the acrobatics – there is no real flow. It can also come across as slightly repetitive in terms of style, with several moments feeling though as they are development of earlier tricks rather than something new.

However, thanks to an unexpected power cut, the musicians really came into their own to keep the audience entertained for the brief interlude. By performing high energetic folk music, which really kept the momentum of the show going, the audience was able to forget that this wasn’t in fact part of the act.

But it is the pure strength and versatility of the performers that really astound and amaze the audience, drawing them into the show with gasps of delight. Having the bearded cast members climb on top of  each other, you can see how physical the show is and how it takes its toll on the acrobats. It is apparent that blood, sweat and tears has gone into the making this show.

Unpretentious, wonderfully camp and filled with a wide variety of tricks designed to impress the audience, Barbu is a show which takes its time to get into but by the end the audience is completely and utterly hooked on what they have just seen.

It is circus but not as perhaps you would have imagined it.

Barbu by Cirque Alfonse runs as part of London Wonderground until the 25th September. For more information and to book tickets visit:

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