note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Sheila Barth
How can I describe The Seven Fingers’ (Le Sept Doigts de la Main) newest show, “Cuisine and Confessions”?
According to media information, the troupe’s name, Le Sept Doigts de la Main, is a twist on a French idiom, “The five fingers of the hand,” but translates literally as “the seven fingers of the hand, describing distinct parts united tightly, moving in coordination towards one common goal”.
Besides providing laughter, excitement, and fun, the nine-member troupe are perpetually in motion, running, jumping, sliding, leaping, flying through the air, scampering up narrow poles, suspended, then performing stunts, zooming down from those poles and other apparatus. They also swing and tumble headlong down a silk drape.
On the less sensational side, they cook, bake, narrate, juggle, joke around, and wind through the crowd, inviting others to join them on stage at times, keeping theatergoers’ eyes glued to every nook, cranny, corner, center stage - everywhere -simultaneously.
There is never a quiet, motionless moment.
You have to be there to experience the wonder of this spellbinding, world-famous circus troupe, that makes every minute, including a 20 minutes pre-show, non-stop, interactive, fun, awesome, gravity-defying, 85-minute spectacle.
Nothing is lacking.
Children and adults alike are mesmerized by “Cuisine and Confessions” because of their endless energy, split-second timing and coordination, while using home-type props.
The set is a huge kitchen, with shelves that reach to the ceiling. A suspended wooden towel-drying rack is raised and lowered throughout the performance, ultilized in stunts, while various wooden counters, tables and chairs are platforms used for jumping off-and-on, leaping, and tumbling.
And, yes, they actually do make pasta and bake a banana bread on stage, welcoming the audience to partake with them after their resounding, standing ovation finale. They even include their recipes in the theater program.
The nine-member troupe, based in Montreal, Quebec, comes directly from their sold-out performances in Paris, Rome, and Moscow. The show also appeared in Romania, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Turkey, and Switzerland, Troupe members originally hail from U.S.A., Argentina, Finland, Sweden,and Russia, but are a tightly-woven group that performs fluidly and flawlessly, as though they have performed together forever.
Besides their perpetual motion, boundless energy, and science-defying contortion and acrobatics, each member tells his/her story of their childhood memories in their family kitchen. Some are happy, poignant, while Argentina’s Matias Plaul’s tale of how he never knew his father, is profoundly tragic.
Creating a continuous getting-to-know-you atmosphere, Sidney Iking Bateman tosses an egg-shaped ball to theatergoers, and spritzes others with water. Finland’s friendly, pretty blonde, Nella Niva, dashes among theatergoers, handing out treats like gummy bears while mingling with folks. She also performs flawless acrobatic, balletic movements throughout the show.
But, ah, Mishannock Ferrero of USA and Sweden, finds the love of his life, with “beautiful” theatergoer, Alessandra,” whom he invites on stage, as the troupe whips up a tasty treat and serves it to her.
Bateman and USA’s Melvin Diggs plunge themselves head first through conjoined wooden frames, that are raised and lowered, intensifying their danger.
The troupe is rounded out by Anna Kichtchenka of Russia, Camille Legris of Canada, who was absent last Wednesday, but replaced by Heloise Bourgeois of France; Emile Pineault of Quebec, and Pablo Pramparo, of Argentina.
Take the family to this spectacular show, but warn the kids not to try these stunts. Be sure to taste the banana bread, too!