The old Wild West comes alive on the Lensic Performing Arts Center’s stage when Cirque Éloize presents “Saloon” on February 20.
This family-friendly production, with non-stop live music and thrilling acrobatic feats, is an action-packed show featuring a cast of talented performers.
Beer bottles are juggled in a bar room. A barbershop is the set for a knife-throwing routine that uses straight razors. Two gunfighters warily approach each other on opposite ends of a seesaw. Railroad workers perform somersaults while holding gigantic sledgehammers.
“When Jeannnot Painchaud approached me to work on a circus show to take place in the world of Wild West saloons, I immediately knew that music would play a central part in the project,” says Eloi Painchaud, who composed the production’s original music. “To make “Saloon’s” music magical, we showcase both the charming individual vocal performances and the hillbilly harmonies that bring singers together as one.”
A number of Painchaud’s compositions draw from the musical styles of Dolly Parton, Hank Williams and Emmylou Harris. Painchaud also incorporated traditional folk and country music, including “Crazy” by Patsy Cline and “Bad News” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” by Johnny Cash, into the production to help tell its story.
“The acrobats’ performances were a great inspiration for me, dictating the musical drive and rhythm,” Painchaud adds. “The acrobats’ high-level proficiency and sense of danger totally captivated me.”
Cirque Éloize, an award-winning company based in Montreal, Canada that has been a driving force in the world of circus arts for the past 25 years, has produced 12 shows since 1993. “Saloon” is the 11th show in its repertoire and the production currently on tour.