February 8th, 2010 by Dave

by: David Ferrier @davidferia


I just got back from the matinee performance of Les Sept Planches De La Ruse, and i’m still struggling to come to terms with what i just saw. I say that in a good way of course, i’m not coming to terms with what i just saw in the way i would if i had just witnessed a baby seal being clubbed, i mean it in the way that Les Sept was unlike anything i’ve ever seen before.

I went into it not knowing anything about the show. I’m still not convinced that’s the best thing to do even though i know it will mean i have no expectations or preconceived notions of what i’m about to see, but in situations like that, i’m always afraid i’m going to miss some really important piece of symbolism or something (which i did) and this show is high on the symbolic ladder.

Ok, il keep this brief and to the point.

Les Sept is show combing human movement with the use of props (big triangles, rectangles and a parallelogram) and is a collaboration between French visual artist/aesthetic genius and members of the Beijing Opera actors from Dalin, China.

The show starts with the seven planches together forming one big rectangle stage where a sole Chinese violinist plays. From there the cast of around 13 people emerged and over the next hour and 20 minutes blew away the audience with the inventive visual story where the ’seven boards of skill’ were pushed and moved and elevated all around the stage into various athletically pleasing places with the performers climbing and balancing on, over and under them.

Highlights for me were definitely the acrobatic elements of the show, they were brief and sparsely appeared throughout the show but they were thrilling. I’m a 12-year-old at heart so the moment’s when a dude dip a big ol’ flip off one of the shapes and the brief moments of styalised combat tapped into the excitement i feel watching Police Story (Jackie Chan at his peak).

I know that’s such a shallow part of the heavily metaphorically show to write about, if you asked one of the several kids in the audience to write about the show i think that’s what they’d mention too.

It would be criminal not to mention the symbolism. I loved it. I loved the way the large pieces were moved, making them into imposing forces on stage and used to tell the various stories of the show. The thing with symbolism like that, in this shows like this is that I think the meaning of what’s being shown on stage is up for interpretation from the audience. For me, I saw mountains, cities and chases along with extraordinary acts of balancing. Whether i’m took the meaning that was intended is, i think, unimportant. It’s inevitable that everyone will read what’s being performed differently.

In short, Sept Planches gets sept thumbs up for it’s creativity and its mind blowing combination of movement, acrobatics and giant props.

The end.

SO, Not sure if my word is worth a cent? Are you saying to yourself, ‘who does he think he is? Taking up precious internet space writing about a show HE thinks is good! Probably doesn’t know a thing about theatre!’ Well, your sort of right. I have no authority to be writing about what’s a good show or not, the only reason i am is because John lets me. So go and see the show yourself, because while some of the nuances of the Les Sept may elude some people like me, its a show that i guarantee you will enjoy purely for its aesthetic and acrobatic appeal if nothing else. Go on, get a ticket. You won’t regret it. Unless you get mugged on the way to the Regal or something. That wouldn’t be nice.

The end… again.

Ps there’s a typo in the program! OMG! … is it hypocritical of me to point out things like that when my bad grammar is the bane of my existence? Yes it is.. I spelt ‘Sidious’ wrong last time.

Oh well. I know the difference between to, too and two and you, your and you’re. That’s got to count for something.


Ok, this is the real end.

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  1. Kate says:

    Great review for a wonderful show. Now I’m on a quest to steal their shoes so I too can walk up walls. ;)

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