Zodiac Arrest – a circus cabaret

The Westbury Theatre is the big theatre space at the Transalta Arts Barns.  I’d only ever seen it with the risers pulled out on one side and a flat proscenium stage, but the other night when I walked in, it was transformed with a few rows of seats on each of the four sides, zodiac symbols projected on a curtain on one side, and a big empty sprung floor, set up for a show by Firefly Theatre, the Edmonton troupe specialising in circus arts and physical theatre.

There were twelve performances, each introduced by patter from a costumed host evoking the characteristics of each zodiac archetype.  About half of them were arial acrobatics acts, and they were all amazing – Kadri Hansen, Lisa Feehan, Danny Gorham, Kim Precht, Meghan Watson, Kristi Wade, Annie Dugan, Michalene Giesbrecht, and Kim Precht.  The lighting, music, and costuming contributed to different moods from playful to romantic to creepy.  I don’t have any interest (or aptitude!) to attempt arial work myself, but the Firefly Theatre website has lots of information about workshops and beginner classes in their various disciplines.

Other acts included some clown performances (Candace Berlinguette and Mike Kennard), some stage magic by Billy Kidd, a dance version of the story of Ariadne (including Jamie Cavanagh as an egregiously self-absorbed Theseus), and some contortionists cum rhythmic gymnastics performers (Mackenzie Baert and Caitlin Marchak)

I thought that some of these acts dragged a bit, and that the astrological monologues were likewise too long, but on the whole I had enough awe and delight to make it a worthwhile evening.  Zodiac Arrest’s last show is tonight, Sunday at 8 pm, with tickets still available at Fringe Theatre Adventures. 

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