Les Femmes Circus are, as the name suggests, an all-female circus troupe. They team circus, comedy, dance and acrobatics with a fifties aesthetic to create a unique and very enjoyable show. The show centres on the lives of three bored housewives, dutifully performing chores while waiting for their husbands to come home. The women get playful as they try to escape the banality of their lives. They do this by exploring their world and showing the joy in female friendship and the pleasure of misbehaving. Audience participation is invited and volunteers were chosen to join the fun, with Empyrean providing the perfect intimate setting to compliment this.
Playfully resisting the trappings of domesticity, the women display abundant strength, focus and frivolity, with solo acts on rope, aerial straps and hoops — twisting, turning and tumbling high above the stage in stunning displays of physical skill and artistry. Accompanying the aerial expertise was plenty of well-executed floor work, with the performers balancing on poles and each other, flipping across the stage, and performing what I can only describe as extreme hula hooping.
Perfectly coiffed, the women presented as cheeky, sweet and coy. Although mostly saccharin, the show did cover some heavier subject matter by highlighting issues of gender and inequality, and also touched upon domestic violence, exploring these themes with appropriate consideration, culminating in a powerful performance to “It’s a Man’s World.” The show was accompanied by an upbeat and era appropriate soundtrack, with the tracks well chosen to reflect the themes being explored in the different acts. The performers never broke character, wearing perpetual smiles, and never missed a beat with the choreography or acrobatic stunts.
Humorous, entertaining and clever, this show will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those who like their circus cheeky, nostalgic and quaint, will really enjoy making mischief with Les Femmes Circus.