These six acrobats are some of the slickest, most polished and creative circus performers you're likely to see this festival. From Quebec, Flip Fabrique are very clearly part of a culture blossoming with circus ingenuity and innovation. There’s certainly a competitive edge in the air, as Jérémie Arsenault and Bruno Gagnon try to cap each other with diabolo tricks, tossing about three each, and catching them blind over their shoulders and between their legs.
They are intricate and bold jugglers too, creating clean, hypnotic patterns with clubs lit neon from the inside, and in one section bouncing luminous balls off both sides of a Perspex screen so that it looks like the balls are travelling through the plastic.
However, it’s this same rough-and-tumble, back-slapping spirit that makes the show feel a little bit like stumbling upon a (highly talented) frat boy party. There is one woman in the group (Jade Dussault) which in itself smacks of tokenism, but though she is a kickass hula-hoop artist, when she begins rolling hoops to the boys in preparation for a tumbling sketch, they pick them up and start making ‘girly’ poses. That’s before they cast frilly women’s knickers into the audience and invite us to throw them at the performer who has specified this is his ‘dream’.
No thank you, boys. Instead why don’t you get yourselves down to Ellie Dubois’ excellent No Show at Summerhall for a lesson in circus gender attitudes?