INTERVIEW: BARBU BRINGS A UNIQUE CIRCUS EXPERIENCE TO TOWN

With the bevy of beautiful circus shows, high flying, sexy acrobats and death defying tricks, it’s easy to think if you’ve seen one circus you’ve seen them all.

That cannot be said for Barbu Electro Trad Cabaret, a delightfully unique circus rave; it’s barbubig, it’s boozy and it’s beardy.

Artistic director Antoine Carabinier says Barbu Electro Trad Cabaret is a mix of old and new, traditional and modern, and a whole lot of fun.

“It’s a mixture of a lot of things. There’s a live band with us, really great musicians, who play traditional folk music from Quebec, but mixed with electronic music, so it’s a weird mix, but it makes it a rave circus show,’ he says.

“We mix traditional circus from the beginning of the century (1900s) and combine it with new style circus. The show is divided into two parts. The first part is more traditional and in the second, you can expect anything. It’s going wild and it’s fun.”

Speaking with us from snowy Montreal, Antoine, whose first language is French, said he’s looking forward to coming back to Australia again and visiting Adelaide for the first time.

“It’s the first time we’re coming for the Fringe in Adelaide, but we came last year with our other show, Timber!, at the Sydney festival. It was great to be there. We played at Parramatta Theatre. It was amazing to be in Australia. The weather is very warm, compared to here, and you have a lot of beaches. It’s pretty nice,’ he says.

“Fringe Festival are so great in the way there are so many other shows and many performers, and to be in the same place for one month is really great for us. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun. Normally we do up to three shows per city and then move on. It’s not often we’re in the same place for a month.”

The Barbu crew are a close knit group, as Antoine explains, they are literally one big happy family.

“The band worked already with us on Timber! so we’ve known them and trusted them a long time, since the beginning of the company. One of them, I met in high school, when I was eleven so he’s a really old, good friend. All the artists are the same cast as the last show. There’s my girlfriend, my brother-in-law; it’s either really good, old friends, or family in this show,” he says.

And as a close troupe of performers, they devised Barbu together, and continue to build and improve it as a group.

“It’s collaborative. Everyone can come with ideas; it’s really open. Everyone who wants to try something can try it, then our director Alain Francoeur puts it together like a puzzle, and me and my sister do the artistic direction. But everyone creates everything together. It’s a really nice project,” he says.

And what sets them apart from other circus shows is, according to Antoine, their bodies, beards and ability to be comfortable with themselves and each other.

“We are ten people on stage, so everyone is doing everything. It’s not just one act that the artist does. We have a lot of group acts and I think the mixture of that makes it special. We are all pretty big, with big beards, and that’s not normal to do acrobatics. We are more comfortable now we’re older and we do what we like to do. It’s a show to have fun, relax and forget about work and everything. Just enjoy yourself.

“We’ve been touring for so long and I’ve been doing circus for almost 20 years now. I’ve done all kinds of circus, and now we are a bit older, but we have more character so we can do stuff we were able to do when we were young, but now we can do it in a way that it’s more spectacular, even though we’re bigger,” he laughs.

“It’s not a show for young kids, but it’s not just for adults. We respect the audience, but of course, we push the boundaries. There’s a bit of nudity, but nothing really scary for anyone! We drink alcohol a bit during the show and we have fun.”

Barbu Electro Trad Cabaret is on for the duration of Fringe at the Royal Croquet Club so grab your tickets through FringeTix for an entirely new circus experience.

By Libby Parker

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Libby Parker
Libby Parker is a journalist, teacher and life enthusiast.
You can follow her on Twitter at @upsidenews_lib

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