Traces is certainly a show with a twist. It was first seen in the UK in 2007 at the Edinburgh Fringe, and is now making an impact on London audiences at Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre. This is a thrilling circus type show from French Canadian company Les 7 Doigts de la Main.
Interestingly a number of art forms are combined – while one performer dances, another draws on a projector screen and a third accompanies on the piano. The energy is buoyed by the music (very well chosen I thought) and the immaculately timed fast lighting changes.
I found the narrative a little disorientating; it is set in a makeshift urban warehouse with five characters living out what they believe could be their final days. This confusion only intensified my experience. The players tell stories about their pasts, touchingly sharing with us their personal strengths and weaknesses.
The urgency and precision of the show is attention grabbing from start to finish. The five performers excel, leaping across the stage with confidence and gusto. And I was impresed by the acrobatic skills of the young cast (Antoine Carabinier Lepine, Antoine Auger, Genevieve Morin, Philip Rosenberg and Jonathan Casaubon).
Traces has both solo showcases and ensemble pieces, held together with speech and musical numbers. They incorporate a wide variety of circus skills within the show; of these the German wheel and the Chinese poles were my favourite, although there is a real wow-factor from the teeterboard act, where a seesaw-like jumping board is used to hurl one performer high into the air.