The Civic - Auckland Live, Auckland

28/10/2015 - 08/11/2015

Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

12/11/2015 - 17/11/2015

Production Details

‘A Thrilling Blend Of Old World Circus And Burlesque For The 21st Century’ Broadway World 


The Dark Side of Cirque As You Have Never Experienced It Before

Auckland: The Civic, Auckland, from 28 October 

Christchurch: Isaac Theatre Royal from Thursday 12 November

Producers announce that LE NOIR — THE DARK SIDE OF CIRQUE an extraordinary evening of intimate cirque style entertainment starring some of the most incredible acrobatic acts on earth — is coming to Auckland this October and Christchurch this November.

Tickets to this dazzling theatre show, to be staged during Christchurch’s Cup and Show Week and marking the one-year anniversary of the theatre’s re-opening, go on sale at 9am on Friday at Ticketek. Today’s announcement follows news that LE NOIR — THE DARK SIDE OF CIRQUE is coming to New Zealand, opening at The Civic in Auckland on 28 October. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster for this season.

A feast for the senses… the intimate experience is unparalleled ” Sunday Times Perth

Carefully engineered with the deliberate intention of making the audience part of the entertainment offering the opportunity for a 360-degree spectacular view of the stage, from ONSTAGE. Twenty-four of the very best performers from all four corners of the globe, many of them formerly from Cirque du Soleil, are the centrepiece of this production.

LENOIR — THE DARK SIDE OF CIRQUE will enthrall crowds in this spellbinding theatrical journey. LE NOIR is fast-paced, extremely funny and above all entertaining. With incredible displays of balance, contortion, stamina, aerial artistry and death defying acts, such as the Colombian Wheel of Death, the skills exhibited by the cast of LE NOIR is a show that you don’t want to miss. LE NOIR is contemporary circus at its most thrilling.

‘…has you on the edge of your seat’ Sunday Telegraph

LE NOIR – THE DARK SIDE OF CIRQUE is a mesmerizing experience that focuses on the breathtaking skills with less focus on the underlying theme that links them unlike other Circus shows in the modern market.’ – Broadway World

Producer, Simon Painter said, “The original concept behind LE NOIR was to take the very best of the best Cirque performers in the world and rather than create a production in a huge auditorium or arena, produce an intimate style show where the best seats in the house are literally inches from the action on stage.  Part of the concept is to make the audience experience the show rather than just watch it and a number of sophisticated special effects are employed to make this possible.”

LE NOIR is fast paced, extremely funny and above all entertaining.  Never before have New Zealand audiences seen a cast of this calibre, up close and personal – with performances in Auckland and Christchurch, it is not to be missed!

The Civic
Dates: from Wednesday 28 October to Sunday 8 November
Performance Times
Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm
Saturday matinee 2.30pm
Sundays 1.30pm and 6.30pm 
From $69.90 (Booking and transaction fees may apply) 
Ticketmaster 09 970 9700 or ticketmaster.co.nz 
Groups 6+ SAVE! Call Group Bookings on09 970 9745 

Isaac Theatre Royal
Dates:  From Thursday 12 November to Tuesday 17 November
Performance Times

Thursday 12 to Tuesday 17 November – 7.30pm
Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 November matinee 2.pm

Theatre , Cirque-aerial-theatre ,

Making the impossible seem easy

Review by Lindsay Clark 13th Nov 2015

The roar of approval which almost drowns out the finale music for this show confirms that Christchurch dearly loves its circus and applauds the technical artistry and daring spirit of those who bring it to us, this time from around the world. 

Even before the irrepressibly Gallic personage of the Master of Ceremonies (Salvador Salangsang) embarks on a skilful warm up session, the big top atmosphere is established by pulsing sound and steep shafts of light, with an onstage audience as well as a packed auditorium, creating an in-the-round effect. They are also a useful source of supplementary performers for the ebullient emcee to call upon in between main acts. It is all handled with flawless ease and mischievous good cheer – impossible to resist. 

The concept of the show provides a loosely themed structure for what is essentially a sequence of acts from cleverly costumed artists. The progression leads from the poetic innocence of ‘Blanc’, with an emphasis on lyrical grace, through fiery ‘Rouge’ full of passion and pairings, to the dangerous challenges of ‘Noir’. The titular dark side is less shady perhaps than could be expected but there is no doubt that the dangerous skills on view have the audience raptly attentive.

A wide range of creative cirque is on view. The opening act, ‘Aerial Lira’ from Sabrina Aganier, followed by David Matz and the ‘Cyr Wheel’, smoothly convince us of the lithe strength of the human body. Elayne Kraymer delivers beautiful flexibility in her ‘Single Hand Balance’ act and the white section culminates in a very impressive ‘Duo Strap’ act from Jonotan Carp and Yuliya Suslova, complete with startling drops and split second timing. 

In ‘Rouge’, the mood changes in a whirl of scarlet fabric and saucy plumes. Skaters Jeronimo Medina and Jessica Ritchie defy the constraints of a 1.5 metre platform as they fly around in a series of daring manoeuvres. Then it is the superbly powerful strong men, Valeri Tsvetkov and Yani Kostov, working as one unit in a display of balance and precision. Next up, the ‘Aerial Cradle’, with Annie Lapante and Andrei Kelesnikau, is a riveting act which leaves the audience gasping. 

After interval, there is no let up in tension, as Noir advances, with ‘Trapeze’ from talented duo Sarah and Karine Stebe, incredibly fine ‘Shape Spinning’ from Denis Ignatov and a dazzling ‘Pas De Deux’ acrobatic dance from Valerie Charbonneau and Mason Ames. 

The ‘Noir’, interpreted perhaps as perilous rather than sinister, is intensified by Geddy Pavlovicius in his ‘Rolla Bolla’ act, which sees him balancing on an ever higher platform atop rolling cylinders. But it is the truly frightening ‘Wheel of Death’, where dauntless Angelo Rodriguez and Carlos Macias work inside as well as on the circumference of a pair of opposed spinning wheels rotating as they spin, which induces that delicious chill of apprehension in every onlooker. 

The company is hugely supported by dramatic lighting from Christopher Boon Casey, with music composed by Julian Wiggins intensifying or switching mood as a vital component of a flawless show. Costume from Angela Aaron carries out the white /red /black theme with spectacular success as well as locating the artists clearly in the burlesque /circus tradition.  

Making the impossible seem easy is an inspiring gift from these performers. The dedication and planning behind the polish deserves at least as much applause. Bravo Cirque.


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A fantastical feast for circus lovers

Review by Candice Frankland 30th Oct 2015

This show is a fantastical feast for circus lovers! It has some of the best talent, tricks, and transitions I have ever seen. 

The show is divided into three parts: Blanc, Rouge and Noir. Each one has a theme illustrated through the music and lighting to the costuming (both in obvious colours but also in the finer details), as well as the character personalities. The transitions between items are so seamless, thought through, and well choreographed that they could be items themselves. Le Noir has such an effortless flow between acts that despite being two and a half hours (including intermission), it feels as though time ceases to exist.

The first section, Blanc, has a sense of serenity about it. The grace of all the artists in this part of the show is notable but the standout is Elayne Kraymer who performs the Hand Balance. The crisp and clean execution by this contortionist, coupled with her serene expressions, makes a supernatural physical feat seem as natural as walking. The Costume Designer, Angela Aaron’s magnificent outfit alows the audience to see the beauty of the performer’s body angles with intricate and strategically placed appliqués.

Rouge is the saucy, cheeky, and racy segment of the show, and the most pleasantly surprising act is the Skaters, Jeronimo Medina and Jessica Ritchie. The pair appear on stage as a Bride and Groom and fill the transition from Blanc to Rouge by discarding the white wedding dress mid-spin to reveal red lingerie. As the outfits heat up on stage, so does the tension and daringness of the act, until the climactic spin that has the audience holding their breath.

The part of the show titled Noir, signified by the change to black costuming, feels erratic, intense, and dangerous. The Wheel of Death, one of the world’s most complex circus stunts, deserves its place as the last act before the bows. The performers, Angelo Rodriguez and Carlos Macias, have the audience audibly gasping no less than eleven times (I started counting after four). They deliver what they promise and have us “on the edge of our seats.” Another pair in this section worth mentioning is Valerie Charbonneau and Mason Ames who perform a captivating Pas De Deux.

A special acknowledgement to the Master of Ceremonies, Salvador Salangsang, who pulls the audience in (both figuratively and literally) with his own special brand of quirky swagger. His ability to balance the grandiose production with humour and intimacy meant that Le Noir is just as charming as it is awe inspiring. His final moment is a very apt costume change to an item acknowledging their visit to New Zealand.



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Le Blanc

Review by James Wenley 30th Oct 2015

If you want to crack the Auckland market, sex and cirque sells. Already we’ve had the Spiegeltent adult-circus double-hit of Empire at Wynyard Quarter and Limbo for Auckland Festival. Le Noir comes from the bankable team behind The Illusionists phenomenon. 

If you are someone who knows their Cirques, you’ve probably seen most of these acts before here in recent years. Fact is, we’ve been rather spoiled. Strong men, contortionists, the roller shaking duet, even the ‘Columbian Wheel of Death’. So it becomes how you dress these acts up. Or down, in the case of Le Noir. Unfortunately the creative team have gone for the bare minimum in more than just the costuming. [More


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Phenomenal and world class

Review by Nik Smythe 29th Oct 2015

The implied premise of Le Noir involves a kind of transcendence, a rite of passage through colour-coded stages of life from the angelic innocence of Blanc, through the raunchy realm of Rouge, to culminate in the formidable danger of the titular Noir.  As whimsically appealing as this scenario is, the supposed underlying storyline and any implied meaning therein are not at all essential to the work; rather a loose framework in which to showcase what we came for: incredible, breathtaking circus.

Resident director Mathieu Laplante served his own acrobatic apprenticeship with Cirque Du Soleil, and the influence is quite apparent.  Based in a more human – albeit ostentatious – world than the mystical alien-type creatures that Soleil tends to delight us with, the presentation doesn’t extend as far into their illusory other-worldly integration of technical production with character and story; for instance, the sets are adjusted and secured by regular stage hands.  The resultant aesthetic, if not alien is certainly timeless, with some mythical elements, and the choice of the mighty Civic Theatre for a venue plays ideally into the sumptuous classical scheme. 

Angela Aaron’s original costume design frequently references traditional genres from bohemian to burlesque to light bondage.  Among other musical styles, veteran composer Julian Wiggins’ sound design incorporates accordion-driven French cabaret and classic raunchy blues with modern trance and dubstep beats.  Meanwhile, the technologic lighting design of Christopher Boon Casey supplies a mystically modern edge, with the occasional uncomfortable glare. 

The sizeable troupe’s spirited performance shines and smolders through the guidance of director/choreographer Neil Dorward.  Endearingly cheeky French clown Master of Ceremonies Salvador Salangsang warms us up with some typical amusing pseudo sleight-of-hand shtick.  Throughout the evening he and his clutch of graceful, slightly saucy dancing assistants (Ashley McCredy, Erica Jenkins, Kelly Byrne and Cecilla Masson) continue to maintain our high morale between physics-defying acrobatic acts, his characteristic lunacy often involving not inconsiderable efforts on the part of selected audience members. 

The first phase Blanc comprises four typically amazing acts of physical prowess and coordination, beginning with a petit angelic contortionist on the aerial lira (Sabrina Aganier) followed by a brawny male angel (David Matz) on the ground-based Cyr Wheel, a full body sized hoop that he gyroscopically rides at intense velocity.  Elaine Kraymer’s solo hand balancing and Jonatan Carp and Yuliya Suslova’s aerial duo strap routines are equally exemplary, albeit standard samples of circus spectacle.

In a literal puff of smoke the atmosphere segues from Blanc to Rouge, wherein skating bride-and-groom twosome Jeronimo Medina and Yani Kostov systematically disrobe (not completely) as they spin rapidly on a tiny 150cm circle, which surely must unnerve the VIP spectators seated at tables right on the stage, mere metres from the central dais.  They are followed by a pair of powerfully built strong men (Valeri Tsvetkov and Yani Kostov) whose balancing skills are impressive enough, let alone their ability to do it supported only by their partner’s hand, shoulders or head.

Leading into the intermission, Anny Lapante and Andre Kelesnikau’s aerial cradle act is the first I’ve not seen any example of previously – indeed as it happens, a NZ premiere.  Secured to an upright frame by a strap around his midriff, the man swings, flings and swivels the woman over, under and around him drawing suitably impressed gasps from the crowd.

After the break, the Noir segment is introduced by the adroit proficiency of twin artists Sarah and Karine Stebe, sharing a single trapeze.  Denis Ignatov follows with a dazzling shape-spinning display, with his astonishingly swift twirling of a series of prismic frames dynamically lit to splendid visual effect.  Next, Valerie Charbonneau and Mason Ames perform their Pas de Deux, a gymnastic dance act with a provocative romance theme in keeping with the programme’s other male-female combos.

Saving the most exhilarating (read: downright dangerous) routines for last, Geddy Pavlovicus’s thrilling rolla bolla performance defies any rational concept of physical human limitations as he towers above the crowd balanced atop two, then four and ultimately seven independently mobile cylinders.  Impossible!

The climatic double-act of the night sees the largest contraption, dangling throughout above the proscenium like Chekhov’s gun, lowered into place for intrepid acrobats Angelo Rodriguez and Carlos Macias to demonstrate their agile coordination bordering on questionable sanity.  The dramatically named Wheel-of-Death speaks of a fairly believable possibility as the duo run, jump, swing and tumble both in and outside their respective treadmills as they rotate at speed on a central pivot.  A wholly befitting climax, unfortunately the intense backlighting does compromise the visual clarity to a minor degree.

There was some restlessness in the crowd as the fashionable opening-night delay stretched to a full half hour, but this was quickly forgotten soon into the spectacular proceedings.  Likewise, a number of obvious slips and near misses throughout the twelve splendid routines are easily forgiven and even arguably contribute to the white-knuckle suspense, particularly with the culminating Wheel-of-Death sequence that elicited a couple of genuine shrieks of terror. 

It has clearly taken the substantial dedication of a large international company that includes accomplished practitioners from Europe, Asia, America and Aotearoa to mount this ambitious new large scale touring production.  The result is a marvellous show that, with a bunch of performances under their belt surely ought to graduate to belong in the same sentence as ‘phenomenal’ and ‘world class’.


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