by Lynn on December 13, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the CAA Theatre (Formerly the Panasonic Theatre), Toronto, Ont.

Directed, written and choreographed by Gypsy Snider

Cast: Maria Del Mar Reyes

Vincent Jutras

Jérémi Lévesque

Natasha Patterson

Hugo Ragetly

Émilie Silliau

Julien Silliau

Emi Vauthey

Reversible is absolutely divine. The glorious circus troupe, The Seven Fingers, takes circus and pares it down to its breathtaking essence with a loving narrative of memory, family and connection.

 For Reversible the newest show from The Seven Fingers, director-writer-and-choreographer Gypsy Snider (a name you can tip your hat to) asked her troupe of eight performers to delve into their families’ past and come up with a narrative regarding a character or characters in their lives.

As the characters flip, glide, somersault, juggle, crack whips, unfurl fans with flair, scurry up ropes, poles and silks and hang laundry, to name few, they meet the love of their lives, fall in love, run away from home to be with their ‘own one’ and they do it with a sense of wistfulness.

At the beginning each performer talks into a microphone and gives snippets of the information they learned about their family. One performer (Maria Del Mar Reyes) does it in Spanish. Another (Emi Vauthey) tells us of her Japanese grandmother who fell in love with a Swiss man and left home to follow him to Switzerland where they married and remained happy for the rest of their lives.  Each performer carries that character with them in their routines.

Every circus has jugglers. We ohhhh and awww when they juggle multiples of something that are on fire, or are sharp and dangerous. The Seven Fingers takes juggling and every other kind of circus activity to a different level.  When Natasha Patterson juggles her red, malleable balls it’s as if they are possessed or have a spirit and personality of their own. She not only tosses them in the air in ever increasingly difficult patterns, she also uses the walls of the set as an added aid, thus making us look at juggling in a different light.

Walking up a pole is big in circuses these days. Again, The Seven Fingers troupe takes this to another level. Julien Silliau and his wife Émilie Silliau climb the pole, balance on each other and flip out in death defying patters. One trick shows they are head and shoulders above any other circus. Julien climbs up the pole, his arms are straight out holding on to the pole as he rises up, fist over fist. Émilie stands on one of his arms and as his arms rise up the pole, she steps on his arms as if climbing stairs, balanced, poised, effortless. Astonishing.

The Seven Fingers is a decidedly low tech troupe. Glitz, glitter, dazzling projections, neon costumes and all the flashy stuff of others is not for them. Their costumes are comfortable and form-fitting for the women and loose and baggy pants etc. for the men. Walls factor heavily in this show and Gypsy Snider’s vision for it. The movable walls are made of grungy looking plywood that someone might have taken off a curb pile. In each wall is a door, a window with simple curtains and perhaps a small ‘animal door’ at the bottom. Snider has choreographed a pattern of quick entrances and exits through each door, a flip through windows and even a gasp of a scene when one performer on the floor bends forward so completely she is then easily pulled backwards through the ‘animal door’ at the bottom of the wall. You will not look at a baseball cap in the same way because of the way this troupe juggles, flips and tosses them around the set and over the walls.

Cirque de Soleil?  Feh!!!! The Seven Fingers is the bomb! It’s a circus troupe, like no other and performs with such a beating heart and such whimsy in its theatrics it leaves its audience dazzled as well as moved. Who knew that putting up laundry would be such a moving image? Who knew that creating heaven with smoke and billowing sheets could be so captivating?

You must see this. It’s a gift, no matter the season.

David Mirvish Presents:

Opened: Dec. 12, 2018.

Closes: Jan. 6, 2018.

Running time: 90 minutes.

Leave a Comment

Respectful comments are accepted on this site as long as they are accompanied by a verifiable name and a verifiable e-mail address. Posts that are slanderous, libelous or personally derogatory will not be approved.