Monday, 22 December 2014

Review - Timber! at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre


WALKING on logs, juggling axes, clog dancing, aerial acrobatics, beam-balancing, storytelling and live music and song are all part of a day's work for the Cirque Alfonse crew.
The group, from rural Quebec in Canada, are at the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall for a 11-day residency of their show Timber! in which they showcase their extraordinary talents in circus skills.
Featuring three generations of the Carabinier-Lépine family and their musician friends, Timber! is set in a lumber-camp in the back woods of Quebec.
From the start there is much merriment and mischief and this continues for the entire 90 minutes of the show in which the audience is also treated to some dangerous, funny and frankly mind bogglingly adventurous stunts.
Showing off their incredible strength and agility, the group rarely pauses for breath and the routines flow from one to the next beautifully.
The whole show is breathtaking and an utter a delight and there are many highlights. They include an amazing clog dance and beautiful aerial acrobatic display from Julie Carabinier-Lépine, an extraordinary beam balancing stunt by Antoine Carabinier-Lépine, Jonathan Casaubon and Francis Roberge and some incredible juggling with axes by four of the group in which their only protection is wearing gloves.
The precision of the choreography and timing was flawless and elicited numerous gasps from the audience.
The only bit that had most people hiding behind their fingers was when a long and very sharp-toothed saw was used for a series of stunts.
While one of the group held it in a semi circle, two others hurled themselves through it. They also jumped over it as it was swung round in a circle. One false move and a foot, hand or some other body part would have had it!
The whole show was set against a back drop of some rousing and toe-tapping traditional Quebec folk music played by members of the group.
Timber! is utterly brilliant and I defy anyone not to be wowed by it.

Timber! is recommended for those aged eight and over and is on at the Queen Elizabeth Hall until December 31.

Tickets cost from £20. Visit or call the box office on 020 7960 4200.

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