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Le Noir - The Dark Side of Cirque

Home > Canberra > Theatre | Circus | Art | Unusual Events
by TheOnlyFiona (subscribe)
In real life, I do discuss food exactly like how I write in my food review articles. As always my food reviews are scored only on what I've tried and the service expected of that type of establishment.
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Thrilling, seductive and awe-inspiring contemporary circus
A whirl of white, black and red. The mesmerising, athletic feats that continue to up the ante. Thrilling, awe-inspiring and unexpected; this isn't the circus of your childhood.

Le Noir - The Dark Side of Cirque
Le Noir - The Dark Side of Cirque. Alternately titled Le Noir - The Intimate Side of Cirque overseas.


After a Sydney run, I went to see Le Noir during its Melbourne run. From Melbourne, the show is heading to Adelaide and then to Canberra. In the tradition of Cirque du Soleil, Le Noir is based entirely on human performances. Although not an official Cirque du Soleil show, many of the performers have performed in Soleil shows. The only thing I knew about the circus was that there would be no animals.

There is an emphasis on single acts which are broken up by various stage segments. This is the 'dark' that the title refers. From lingerie to abs, there's an adult element to it. Mostly it adds to the wow factor between acts with some transitions like a burlesque show or plausible beer ad. Sometimes it just momentarily distracts before the performers do something show-stopping.

Humour is in all parts. One of the highlights was the audience participation segment. In the Melbourne performance, the onstage seats had a chance to get pulled on stage. If that's not your thing, seating anywhere in the middle of the stalls gives you a fantastic view. The clown/emcee has a few cheeky segments that are made better when the audience onstage play off against him, upping the outrageousness of it all. Even the sexy elements are mostly funny as the constant reminders are almost a joke in itself.

Le Noir - The Dark Side of Cirque
The Le Noir cast


Although the humour and seduction add to the show, the real marvels of the show are the death-defying circus acts. There's a wide variety of acts including trapeze in the traditional sense and with material instead. The acrobats have 3 stages in their acts. The start might include a story/introduction, then the acrobat makes it a much harder trick until finally it becomes almost deadly. Even the most seemingly plain act has a dangerous element to it.

The music is used to heighten the atmosphere. Sad songs are sometimes paired with acts. This interestingly works to make the performance more poetic. Sometimes the music is stopped as the performer takes a scary risk. One of my favourite perfomances was where the blindfolded woman was counting on her partner, who stood on a ledge, to catch her midair.

Gasp, comprehend and applaud! That moment where the performer takes that risk is heart-stopping. The thrill of pure athleticism accomplishing what normal people cannot do is powerful. We are emphatic creatures and when everyone holds a breath on seeing the blindfold there's collective tension. We don't want to see anyone getting hurt yet we want to see something amazing. We're frozen in our seats hoping for success and break out in applause when the near impossible is made possible.

Le Noir Colombian Wheel of Death
My other favourite act: Colombian Wheel of Death


There's a distinct nature that goes with watching a circus. Death-defying acts are so meticulously calculated and practiced that there is no room for error. Le Noir presents thrilling circus feats with humour in a more adult show. It is a different kind of circus experience.
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Phone: Venue numbers: Adelaide 131 246 or Canberra (02) 6275 2700
Where: Canberra - Canberra Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre
Cost: Various.
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