Canadian circus company Les 7 Doigts de la Main is back with a fourth show, Psy, which purports to explore various problematic aspects of the human psyche – from addiction to paranoia through mania and hypochondria.
There are, in fact, 11 members of this talented troupe on stage, and each one is given an individual chance to shine as well as performing together in a sometimes jaw-dropping display of dexterous coordination and acrobatic skill – a sort of Cirque du Soleil without the extravagant costumes, and all the more empathetic for it.
Guillaume Biron’s superbly controlled Michel Michel hears voices in his head which inform the way he elegantly twists, turns and balances on a fixed trapeze; agoraphobic Lily finds freedom swinging high in the air across the stage, Florent LeStage’s amnesiac doesn’t know his own identity but is pretty nifty with the clubs and walking stick which he juggles with insouciant ease; and the uncontrollable temper of Olga Kosova’s Suzi finds fiery expression in a deft display of whirling knives.
Julien Silliiau’s Addict can’t escape his spinning German wheel no matter how hard he tries, whilst OCD sufferer Tom interrupts every action with an uncontrollable smoothing of his clothes. Nael Jammal’s Jacques dons a blank white mask which adds a sinister simian overtone to his hand balancing routine, and tumbler Dexter with his multiple personality disorder is teeterboard propelled onto the roof of a symbolic two storey building .
Most appealing of all, Heloise Bourgeois’ insomniac Claire (partnered by William Underwood’s paranoiac) flips and slips elegantly down the Chinese pole, never quite hitting the ground as she clutches her pillow like a sleepy child.
You won’t learn much about their various neuroses, but this slick, hugely enjoyable show proves that you don’t need high tech (or high prices) to bring the circus to town.
Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street WC2A 2HT (Holborn tube)
0844 412 4322
Until 15th May (£10 – £36)