Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Attrape Moi (Catch Me) is a circus show about friendship by Quebecois circus company Flip FabriQue, formed by graduates from the Quebec City Circus School.
Six childhood friends arrive at a cabin in the pouring rain for their first reunion since they parted ten years previously. They joke with one another, play games, look at old photos, and perform circus tricks. The circus skills are formidable, and excellently performed.
If Attrape Moi has a fault, it is in the marketing. This is much more a show aimed at children than any of its publicity lets on. The show is full of slapstick comedy that had the children in the audience – and some of the grown ups – laughing, but left other adults cold. The cast act in a pretty juvenile way – too childlike for the late twenty-somethings they supposedly are (the French version of Flip FabriQue’s website has more detail about the narrative than the English site – the friends parted at the beginning of adult life), even taking into account some regression in the presence of old friends. It can only make sense if the intended audience is children.
The music is an energetic and contemporary mix of rock, techno, folk, and in the first act, music is created live by a singer and beatboxer in the cast. It is quite the visually appealing spectacle. The show includes some incredible acts in juggling, diabolo, trampolining, hula hoop, yo-yo (involving a stunning use of lights), and group acrobatics. Most impressive, however, is the aerial straps act, which demonstrates remarkable strength (and the muscles behind it – why is it that aerial straps are often done shirtless?). Personally, I found some of the slapstick acting taking place during acts an unwelcome distraction. I’d rather watch the awe-inspiring circus tricks taking place than see performers smear shaving foam all over their faces.
It’s a shame that Flip FabriQue haven’t got the same attitude towards gender balance as Canada’s prime minister, who, when asked why he had created a gender-balanced cabinet, replied ‘because it’s 2015.’ With a five to one ratio, Attrape Moi is even worse than the industry average in that respect. Worse still, the only girl is the one bringing ice lollies to the boys, needs help putting away an umbrella, and often seems to be sitting on the side watching, which doesn’t provide a very progressive example of gender relations for 2016.
I recommend Attrape Moi on the strength of the circus skills alone, and would further recommend it if you have children or find slapstick humour funny.