Presented by The 7 Fingers and ArtsEmerson
Created and Staged by Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila
July 12 – August 7
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont St. Boston
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Review by Danielle Rosvally
(Boston, MA) I’ve noticed a really exciting trend in Circus arts lately. The Circus, in many ways, is going through a pivotal transitional period: as animal acts continue to dwindle in reaction to the many valid concerns about humane animal treatment, circus performers are finding more and more creative ways to showcase not just the feats of inhuman strength, flexibility, and dexterity that we’re used to seeing, but also the humanity of the performers themselves. Story telling is becoming more and more central to the outstanding circuses touring the world and I couldn’t be more excited to have a front row seat to the incredible fruits of this transition.
The latest product of this trend, Cuisine & Confessions, is simply divine and not to be missed. For the first time, The 7 Fingers brings this triumph to the United States (and aren’t we Bostonians lucky that we get to be at the front of the line to see it?) It’s an all-sensory experience that will enwrap you in its warmth and deliver brave, challenging entertainment that’s not only death defying, but also life affirming.
The multi-talented, multi-national, multi-lingual cast leaps, dances, and cooks their way through various vignettes that intertwine Food with an essence of being. The premise of the show seems to be that we are all made up of ingredients; and the ingredients of a life (much like the ingredients of a dish) will create the totality of a human. Each performer shares their story through circus arts, spoken word, and dance at some point during the show using their various talents to display their ingredients.
And when I said “cook,” I actually mean it. The cast spends the duration of the show cooking real food in their real kitchen right onstage before your eyes. When you walk in, the theatre smells like rosemary and roasted vegetables because that’s what’s in the oven. If you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll be invited onstage to explore the kitchen and chat with the performers; they may even make you a cup of delicious coffee while you kibitz. Throughout the show, the actors will ask for audience assistance in preparing pasta, banana bread, and (for one very lucky lady) an omelet. While I can’t attest to the quality of the omelet, the rest of the food was absolutely delicious. For those with an interest in the culinary arts, the company has the generosity to gift you with the recipes right in your program so that you’ll be able to taste the echoes of your experience for years to come.
This incredible tapestry of moving bodies leaves an audience to wonder about the boundaries between private and public with food and art; both can be extremely personal, both can stimulate memories of times gone by, both are end products that can often only be created by a single person. And yet; both food and art are (by their nature) communal and meant to be shared. Both give us (and those around us) a sense of who we are and where we come from. Both can bring joy and fulfillment; and both are (in this reviewer’s opinion) necessary for life.
I don’t think that anyone should miss the opportunity to catch Cuisine and Confessions while it’s in town. Come hungry; and definitely come early. Pre-show is almost as much fun as the show itself…. Almost.