As if the Festival Montréal Complètement Cirque doesn’t already push companies to think outside the box, Analog takes things one step further to bring us FINALE, which is not only a show, but a unique experience that is both breathtaking, heartwarming and sidesplitting all at once. FINALE has true panache: groovy drum beats, smoke, and confetti transform Théâtre St-Denis into an open-air cabaret concert that will make you forget your worries and leave with a giddy feeling of childlike excitement.
In an incredibly stylish way, FINALE puts modern street performance onto a proscenium stage. Not only does this show bring street performance indoors, it combines all the street performances on the block into one outrageous mash-up. This summer, if you’re going to invest in one show and one show only, pick this one.
Berlin-based Florian Zumkehr, or ‘Flo’ as people refer to him on stage, created the company in 2013 with the goal of eliminating everything phony. Check! This show steers clear of the air of ‘professional artists’ being separate or above their audience. Yes, these incredibly skilled performers may be blowing your mind, pulling tricks out of their hats that you didn’t even think possible, but on the other hand this piece also feels like 8 amazing friends having a party and jamming out together. Their respective disciplines and specialties intertwine more smoothly than I’ve ever seen before, melding together to push boundaries and bring their acts to another level.
Starting out as what looks like a grassroots show masquerading as disorganized, reminiscent of how Analog’s street performance company probably started out touring across Europe, Flo and Richie perform a bare bones balancing act, while Eye of the Tiger plays from a portable speaker shoved in the pocket of Flo’s pants. Things really kick into gear once the red curtain is pulled back, revealing the rest of the stage and plunging us into a world of night-life, and one hundred and one different locations. An original soundtrack and unique lighting design help to create these dynamic changes as the show reinvents itself with every change of act.
Even when the stunts weren’t the most jaw-dropping – like Richie playing a tiny piano, or Kez the vocalist facing her fear of heights – they were refreshing and perfectly paced to compliment and contrast the daredevil acrobatics. It’s truly through these moments that we even get a glimpse at the performers’ true personalities: Flo, the intellectual, performs a balancing act using a chair and four stacks of beat up books; Richie, the class clown, has a hilarious cross between a break dance routine and a street fight against an invisible opponent; then Carlos, a more mysterious guy dressed in a black hoodie, does one of the most incredible Chinese pole acts that I’ve ever seen in my life. As the lighting changes from colorful and dim to cold and bright, Carlos brings us on a parkour course with him. As he navigates the traditional chinese pole, a second pole is revolving around the centre one, and he alternates between the two. It had me audibly gasping!
As the band of performers comes to the end of their performance, one thing that really struck me as truly special was that all 8 performers took their bow alongside the 4 volunteers that they had called up for the final number. Of course after they were finally done they all lined up again for a curtain call, but they didn’t bow that time. No, they saved that for the public’s participation. This show was so connected to its audience. An instant standing ovation.
Performances: July 9 to 20, 2019
Venue: Théâtre St-Denis
(1594, St-Denis Street, Montreal, QC H2X 3K2
Box Office: 514-374-3522 | www.montrealcompletementcirque.com