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Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

You would never again look at timber the same way!  In a spectacular programme of log-balancing, wood-chucking, axe-juggling and delightful dancing to traditional live music and the folklore of Quebec, Cirque Alfonse ‘s Timber is back at Queen Elizabeth Hall, adding to the amazing Winter Festival programme at the Southbank Centre.

This is a family show, and as such, the 90 minutes line-up is rich with diverse acrobatic routines, some of which add moments of heart-in-mouth frisson, juggling, equilibristics performances and more.

Antoine Carabinier’s multidisciplinary virtuoso is stunning. He demonstrates skills in using acrobatic moves usually seen by highly skilled acrobats using German and Cyr wheels.  In Timber’s production all the props are either made of timber, so for the German–wheel act Antoine uses an old wooden wagon wheel. Also the traditional Russian bar is swapped for a supple tree branch. Antoine’s sister, Julie’s rope performances also wows audiences. Julie’s spectacular corde lisse, solo and double, is like a breeze of air in the woods. The group’s coordinated axe juggling is breathtaking.

Timber!, we are told, is all to do wood and how lumberjacks were living in the 1940s. I guess that explains the beards on all the male acrobats and the use of props from that period.

Timber! pulls together three generations of one family –  from the 68 year-old Alain Carabinier to the three year old grandson, Arthur . The child steps on the stage with evident star qualities – he jumps and smiles, waving to the auditorium as though he has just had won the toy he so much wanted.

It makes a delightful family evening out. If you cannot catch it this year, I guess they will be back again next year. Young (8+) and not so young members of the audience gave the troupe a standing ovation.

  • Circus
  • By Cirque Alfonse
  • Acrobates: Antoine Carabinier Lépine, JonathanCasaubon, Francis Roberge
  • Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
  • Until 31st December 2014
  • Review by Rivka Jacobson
  • 24 December 2014

About The Author

Executive Director

Rivka Jacobson, founder of Passion for theatre and years spent defending immigrants and asylum seekers in UK courts fuelled her determination to establish a platform for international theatre reviews. Rivka’s aim is to provide people of all ages, from all backgrounds, and indeed all countries with opportunities to see and review a diverse range of shows and productions. She is particularly keen to encourage young critics to engage with all aspects of theatre. She hopes to nurture understanding and tolerance across different cultures through the performing arts.

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