Mirvish presents the theatrical circus troupe 7 Fingers’ show Reversible in Toronto
Les 7 doigts de la main (the 7 Fingers), the scrappy Montreal-based contemporary circus arts collective has been steadily building its reputation in Toronto for its brilliant, wildly creative, artist-driven performances. Following recent runs of their shows Traces and Cuisine and Confessions, Mirvish has brought the company back to present Reversible.
What sets the 7 Fingers apart from other, larger and more well-known theatrical circus companies (ahem, Cirque du Soleil) is they do contemporary circus on a human scale. You won’t find flashy costumes, automated sets, or vaguely new-age music here. The 7 Fingers’ stripped-down approach focuses on artistry over razzle-dazzle spectacle. This is small-batch, hand-crafted, artisanal circus as a counterpoint to Cirque du Soleil’s mass-produced, factory model.
The cast of Reversible consists of a group of eight young, mind-bogglingly talented, multi-disciplinary artists. The show’s writer/director/choreographer Gypsy Snider embarked on a collaborative creation process challenging her cast members to delve into their family histories and research their ancestors to find stories to inform their performances. The result is collection of soulful performances that feel authentic and deeply personal.
Snider seamlessly integrates circus acts together with dance and movement design to create a collection of sleek production numbers–often as thoroughly choreographed and tightly executed as a ballet–all set to a cool, original soundtrack by various Montreal indie rock artists.
The way Snider blends various circus disciplines in the show is stunningly original. There’s a cleverly staged dance number where husband-and-wife team Émilie and Julien Silliau crack whips and juggle fans. Later, the pair performs as part of a number where they scamper up a Chinese pole but also incorporate hand-to-hand balancing and trapeze technique in a way I’ve never seen done before.
Later in the show there’s a gorgeous number where a pair of aerialists (Émilie Silliau and Emi Vauthey) perform side by side on a web rope and aerial silks respectively; at times in synch at others in counterpoint.
In another surprising and original number, two artists (Vincent Jutras and Jérémi Lévesque) combine skateboard and hoop diving technique to jump through, over and around various obstacles in a sort of choreographed parkour.
Snider infuses the show with simple yet beautiful and evocative imagery throughout. There’s a scene near the end of the show where juggler Hugo Ragetly performs his act while, one-by-one, the cast members pin items of clothing meant to represent someone from their past onto a laundry line. I found myself getting surprisingly emotional at the symbolism.
That’s probably the thing I loved most about Reversible, it’s equally evocative as it is awe-inspiring. If you enjoy circus, dance, theatre or physical performance of any kind this show is an absolute must-see!
- Reversible is playing at the CAA Theatre (651 Yonge Street) through January 6, 2019
- Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
- Tickets $69.00 to $79.00
- Tickets are available by phone at 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333, in-person at the CAA Theatre box office or online at Mirvish.com
Photo of Hugo Ragetly, Natasha Patterson, Vincent Jutras, Émilie Silliau, Julien Silliau, Maria Del Mar Reyes, Emi Vauthey and Jérémi Lévesque by Jerome Guibord