REVIEW: Passagers by The 7 Fingers @ Brighton Dome

Brian Butler October 3, 2021

Cirque du Soleil are known worldwide for their beautifully choreographed circus, aerial and balancing skills. No surprise then that the Montreal-based 7 Fingers was formed in 2002 by a septet of Cirque performers wanting to branch out into more story-telling emotional work.

Their latest work Passagers, written, directed and choreographed by Shana Carroll, travelled to Brighton for two nights at the Dome. And travelling is the subject of the 90-minute spectacle, which finds eight people in the time capsule of a long train journey.

Using simple chairs they create the compartment with cut-out windows and a luggage rack. A lot of the effect is down to their synchronised body movements but also the brilliant videography behind them created by Ana Cappelluto.

It’s a show with dialogue, singing, dance, juggling, tumbling and contortionism that tells a story of meetings and partings, of travelling through space and time, of journeying through life. That’s all the meaning you need. There are comic moments, some superb Indian club juggling by Pablo Pramparo, and  truly breath-taking height and death-defying routines.

In the finale, when one performer tells us time can stop – in other words life can stop – just mid-sentence, Brin Schoellkopf jumps though mid-air, glides and is repeatedly caught and swung away again by Samuel Renaud. These moments of exquisite beauty and danger just blow you away.

But there’s much else to please and excite :hugely skilled routines with bouncy giant hoops, and a section with a telegraph post anchored on taut wires, which a performer walks up and in his final act plunges headfirst down the pole stopping centimetres from the stage surface. It’s staggering.

What’s evident throughout is the total trust these acrobats and dancers place in each other, literally holding each other’s lives in their hands or feet. And throughout there’s a sense of joy and energy that’s palpable.

Passagers continues its UK tour at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall ( 5/6 October ) and Theatre Royal Plymouth ( 11/12 October). The show is presented by the Dance Consortium. Full details of the Tour can be found at their website here: 

Footnote on the Dome: the venue has stringent safety measures in place, including temperature checks, and proof of dual vaccination or a negative Covid test. But again I have to say that for so large an audience capacity 6 seats in the public bar area is totally inadequate.