Flash Marionettes, Flash Circus

Review in Issue 12-4 | Winter 2000

‘Sometimes puppets speak about humans better than humans themselves,’ says Ismail Safwan, director of French company Flash Marionettes, in the programme to their new show Flash Circus, premiered in the UK at visions 2000. There are certainly times when our hearts are so opened that we forget that these creatures that are tugging at those heart strings are made from wood and foam.

Grandmother singing her old Russian folk songs, a pig juggling sausages, a puppet walking a tightrope – we laugh and cry and worry with these puppets throughout. The narrative is the age-old show within a show – a behind the scenes story of a struggling circus troupe. Throughout the piece, the question of who is more real, person or puppet, is played out in both subtle and upfront ways, culminating in a final scene that toys with a question dear to many fans of the film Blade Runner. Who can ultimately tell the difference between human and automaton?

Flash Circus is a show that combines different artforms with a skill and panache that proves that multi-discipline performance doesn’t have to mean jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. It is all down to the abilities of the performers – and the four company members who co-write and perform the show are skilled enough to bring off a performance that integrates physical acting, spoken text, puppetry and circus, creating a cohesive whole that is both artful and entertaining.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-4
p. 25