Belfast Telegraph

Review: Mesmerising Celui Qui Tombe discovers perfect balance at Grand Opera House

Celui Qui Tombe (He Who Falls). Grand Opera House, Belfast International Arts Festival

By Grania McFadden

Six performers - three men, three women - stand on a platform suspended high above the stage. As it lowers and tilts, they group and regroup, finding their balance in a bid to stay on board.

Someone moves to the right - another must move to the left.

If they don't act together, they'll all go down.

The platform begins to revolve, slowly at first, then faster, and the dancers cling together.

They split apart, break away, circle the platform, bodies bent at improbable angles, held together by some sort of alchemy. Yoann Bourgeois' mesmerising show is perfect festival fare, thrilling and original.

The wooden world becomes a skating rink, a see-saw, a dance floor, a cliff edge and a swing on which the dancers climb, slither, slide and dangle.

It's exhilarating to watch as they take a chance on going it alone, or find safety in numbers regrouping as the ground shifts. And there's beauty, too, as the six create a love story to the sound of Frank Sinatra's My Way - a yearning romance where embraces are almost out of reach.

Many stories are told during this short, hypnotic performance, with its lessons in courage and co-operation. The audience holds its breath as the dancers push the platform away and duck out of the giant swing's way with just millimetres to spare.

Time and again, they seem to defy physics as they twist and roll over and under the wooden platform. At the end they dangle from its underside, hanging like icicles.

Art and science working together - a triumph. And a standing ovation.

Belfast Telegraph

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