Yo Tohu – Stripped down Cirque – but so much fun!

I’m such a sap for the Circus – both old school (with animals) and new school (acrobats, jugglers, and the like). Which is why Pista del Tango was such a disappointment. How dare you ruin the Circus for me?

Thank goodness for Tohu. I always assume that everyone knows what I’m talking about when I say Tohu – but based on the lack of audience on Thursday (2/27/2013) night, I’m guessing that maybe I need to start off with a – how to find the Tohu.

Where/What is Tohu

Start by checking out their website – there’s both an English and a French version – you can get tickets, check the dates of different performances, and get a list of all the free stuff that happens there. I can personally recommend just about anything that they put on – I’ve never had a bad time – and frequently had a great time. This is NOT Cirque de Soleil, despite the physical closeness – those tall buildings to the right as you drive in are the Montreal headquarters of the Cirque de Soleil – and clearly there’s money and financing cross-overs. But Tohu is clearly independent – and rather feisty about that.

http://www.tohu.com

Festival Mondial Du Cirque De Demain

This is the third or fourth time I’ve seen these guys perform – and it is always a huge pleasure. Truly some of the best young (and not so young) performers from around the world come to Montreal as part of this group. There is no pretense at a story, or a theme, or even much of a set. Instead – this is a presentation by 9 different performing teams – each one of which has one at least one award – and in some cases – several awards. So we’re talking the best of the best at what they do. And what they can do is nothing short of astounding. We were 4 – and each of us had a different top act. My husband’s personal favorite was the Starbugs – 3 nutty guys – clowns with tremendous physical abilities. I just couldn’t stop laughing. One highlight – the fake ‘fight’ that started with the 2 guys in ‘contact’, and continued as they got further and further apart. What a hoot. My daughter loved the Chinese juggler/plate spinner who managed to take spinning objects to an entirely new level – and ended his act by pulling a ‘dragon’ out of his basket and spinning that! Another favorite was the Trapeze artist – who did things on a trapeze including several multiple spins high above the audience, unattached to the trapeze at all, that I’d never seen before.

Then there were the 2 male contortionists. I can’t find words to describe their act – except to say that sometimes they looked completely normal, and other times left me sitting with my mouth completely open in stunned surprise.

I particularly like the first act – a quick presentation by the students in the circus school. A teaser to encourage people to get tickets to their graduation performances in April – something I totally recommend that all my followers – and all their friends – do immediately. There are 2 different productions – they split the class in half, and each group gets their group of performances. I’ve done both – and never been sorry.

Finally – I wouldn’t do a fair review of this wonderful evening if I didn’t mention the guy (huge) and girl (tiny) team. The guy essentially tossed his partner around like she was putty – and she let him do it! Her grace was extraordinary, and his control when tossing her was so light and easy – you could easily fool yourself into thinking – I could do that. Word to the wise – Nope, you probably can’t.

Positive Stuff: Cafe at Tohu – little known but completely wonderful place to grab a grilled cheese sandwich, a bag of delicious popcorn, or even a Latté before a performance, Free stuff before the performance – in this case – a pile of circus toys that you could try out – including a tightrope to walk and plates to spin, and inexpensive parking – Just $5. Negative Stuff: Don’t count on the scenery and costumes to blow you away – that’s not the point, There’s not a bad seat in the house – but there are some side seats that are best avoided, and it ends late if there’s an intermission.

Go – Enjoy – Tell’m the Soup Lady sent ya.

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