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French dance troupe expresses strength, soul and astonishing synergy

Il Nest

In the Perth Festival production Il n’est pas encore minuit… (translation: “It is not yet midnight…” the audience is witness to extreme human endurance as remarkable French circus troupe, Compagnie XY, pulses with adrenaline-fuelled acrobatic stunts that serve to shock and amaze.

A splendid vision is ignited by the skilful cohesion of all 22 members, accompanied by an original soundtrack that churns the mood from funny, to alarming, to eerie to heartfelt.

The ability of the collective to turn cool West Side Story-style choreography into a hovering human tower of surreal Amazon-like structures, then transcending into a minimalist urban landscape, is mind-blowing and has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

Be ready to ascend with utter anticipation and joy at every turn of dexterous and dangerous stunts that require more than the ability to perform circus acts, and instead rely on unconditional trust and absolute strength, both admirable traits in any performance group of this kind. That said, Compagnie XY deliver a show that is unlike any other –void of deterrent props, smokes and mirrors (save for a couple of square jumping boards).

These guys really push the boundaries of human activity via innovative acts of crawling, climbing, swinging and leaping, always vexing playful and agile manoeuvres, intermittently catapulting each other into the stratosphere. It truly is beyond Olympian.

Throughout the entire show, despite all these leaps and bounds, the performers remain stable and graceful, oozing cool while mastering control.

Il Nest 02

At one point, all 22 performers come together to create a three-tiered ‘cake’ that beats the hell out of any cheerleader pyramid you’ve ever seen.

Having recently enjoyed a merry-go-round of fabulous shows during the Perth Fringe Festival, I can say I’ve witnessed plenty of fantastic acrobatic acts, but I do have to say, none compare to the absolute professionalism and sheer brilliance of Il n’est pas encore minuit… Indeed, this memorable performance grips its audience while celebrating human connection.

Performance art can be a remedy for the ills that ail the modern world, hence Compagnie XY’s ultimate message is a pertinent one: “Alone we go faster; together we go further.”

In effect, the audience is instructed to say “no” to greedy individualism and “yes” to cooperation in a world slowly losing necessary traits such as generosity and compassion.

Collectively, Compagnie XY remind us that “together, human strength is truly remarkable, truly brave and truly inspirational”.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Annette McCubbin


‘Il n’est pas encore minuit…’ is on at the Regal Theatre as part of Perth Festival until February 17.

Tickets are available through www.perthfestival.com.au.


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