Review by Hannah Fredriksson
The Détectives in Cirque Noir is like Roger Rabbit meets circus with a sprinkling of burlesque; it’s the perfect blend of cartoony visual gags and impressive feats of dexterity, brought to you by the wonderful Victorian acrobats from Dummies Corp. With rope climbing and giant hoop acrobatics, the show packs a hell of a lot of punch in the small performance space of the De Parel Spiegeltent.
Cirque Noir is steeped in all the well-known tropes of film noir - a dead husband, a rich widow seeking answers, trenchcoats and fedoras, a van for solving mysteries, a dank nightclub, and several incorrect accusations. The cast of four talented acrobats and puppeteers juggle, climb, and flip their way through impressive tricks that drew well-earned laughter and applause throughout the show.
The one thing that Dummies Corp. doesn’t do is take itself too seriously - the protagonists are shown to be terrible at sleuthing (but great at juggling) so the plot isn’t super concerned with maintaining an air of mystery to the whodunnit, and it has the perfect surprise farcical ending.
Despite some minor hiccups in juggling routines, the performers have an amazingly infectious energy that is super endearing and keeps you cheering them on. It’s brilliant to see them having so much fun in the ridiculous situations, and engaging with the audience throughout. Admittedly some segments of the show last just a little bit too long and feel a little bit repetitive, at a certain point you just want to know what happens next.
The performance is crafted in such a way that language isn’t super essential to understanding the show; most of the time short and simple exclamations carry across the meaning of their actions, while the larger-than-life physicality and gestures speak for themselves in volumes. The minimal dialogue leaves plenty of room for the slapstick humor to be the hero.
The production makes effective use of simple props and lighting to transition between the different locations of the story. The audio production perfectly supports the tone of mystery and suspense, while certain segments are perfectly timed to a series of recorded sound effects.
The Détectives of Cirque Noir contains some very adult humour so it’s certainly not one to bring the kids to, and yet the slapstick silliness of it all tickled something inside of me that felt cosy and familiar, like watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.
Keep an eye out for future Dummies Corp. productions, they’re sure to be a riot!