Cirque Tsuki: weird for weird’s sake

At the top floor of the C Nova, the audience is welcomed into the mad, yet tedious, world of Cirque Tsuki: Feast. It’s part of a trilogy, the other two parts of which I will certainly be avoiding.

The show started promisingly enough in its own surreal sort of way: you walk into a dimly lit, intimate space consisting of a mattress the cast sit on, backed by signposts to nowhere and a magical box. The cast welcome each other and members of the audience, hand out free samples of a ‘love potion’, and the action pauses momentarily as a ferocious argument takes place offstage that’s never referred to again. The audience are within inches of the cast.

The simple prologue that followed turned out to be the best thing in the show: an actress gets three members of the audience to act out a dialogue-less scenario on the mattress. Unfortunately, when the crux of the show reveals itself, confusion and, subsequently, boredom quickly set in.

The rest of the play seemingly takes the form of a series of retellings of the stories from Arabian Nights. And these stories are piled, relentlessly, on top of one another, with characters telling stories about telling stories, before another character begins telling another story about telling stories etc, etc.

I guess the people behind Cirque Tsuki thought they were being clever, but the final result is rather juvenile. It offers a shallow adaptation of the source material that offers no new perspective, veering in tone and involving an obnoxiously non-linear plot. The actors were far too over-the-top for such an intimate setting, and took far too much relish in the numerous accents they affect.

The show ended as bizarrely as it began, with one of the cast collapsing and the rest imploring us to leave. While at the beginning of the show, such chaotic twists and turns felt vaguely charming, by the end you feel as though Cirque Tsuki has simply succumbed to the GCSE drama student’s urge – being weird for weird’s sake.

Christian Butler is a writer and musician based in London.

Cirque Tsuki: Feast is at C Nova until 25 August.

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