Who knew cardboard could be so fun? Catalan circus company Enfila’t joyfully throw around man-sized boxes, falling onto them, jumping out of them and hiding in them. Cardboard boxes, it turns out, are an infinite source of amusement.
‘Folds’ is a master class in the essence of clowning. The four performers jabber at each other Ð arguing sometimes in one of their many native languages, sometimes in nonsense Ð as they bounce off and bump into all sorts of hilariously run of the mill objects.
We’ve got used to circus with sparkle, bangs and spangly leotards, but this piece is as pared down as it could be. Big folds of cardboard with colourful scribbles are used as backdrops and scrunched up bits of paper as props. There’s even a makeshift, man-bearing tightrope miraculously made in front of the audience by winding up a long sheath of brown paper.
The one vaguely high tech element comes in the form of two huge, wrought iron wheels connected by a metal bar, which serves as a kind of moving tightrope that rolls while the performers duck and dive around it. This rocking contraption frequently looks dangerously like it might roll into the audience, but always stops just as we think it will breach the stage’s edge.
For all its sweet ingenuity, for me it missed a certain wow factor, but the kids in the audience clearly had no such reaction, especially when they got the chance to throw umpteen balls of paper at the performers onstage.
So with all that wrapping paper going to waste, this piece may hold the secret to the perfect way to keep the little’uns amused this Christmas.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell