Review: Le Coup at Norfolk & Norwich Festival ★★★

Review: Le Coup at Norfolk & Norwich Festival ★★★

A slightly lacklustre entry into Chelsea McGuffin & Co’s catalogue of circus shows, Le Coup is nevertheless a diverting night out in Norwich!

Le Coup | Norfolk & Norwich Festival – Adams Spiegeltent, Chapelfield Gardens | Until 28 May | From £7.50

Under their previous guise as Company 2, Chelsea McGuffin & Co debuted with the memorable Cantina, which wowed in London and beyond – and firmly put this circus company on the map. Since then, more hit shows have followed, including Le Coup: “a tribute to funfairs, boxing troupes and the showmen and women of yesteryear.

Review: Le Coup at Norfolk & Norwich Festival ★★★ 1
Chelsea McGuffin as compere and fire eater!

After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, and a six month residency at Berlin’s Chamäleon, Le Coup is back in the UK for a short run at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Perhaps it’s rustiness, or the challenge of finding new enthusiasm for an old show, but the opening night of Le Coup at the Addams Spiegeltent in Chapelfields Gardens felt a little flat.

Some of the artistry, pizzazz and energy seemed missing from what was nevertheless a decent series of acrobatic performances from a cast including Hilton Dennis, Tara Boom, Jacqueline Frey and Skip Walker-Milne – and La Clique’s Katharine Arnold covering, we think, for Phoebe Armstrong.

Review: Le Coup at Norfolk & Norwich Festival ★★★ 2
Tara Boom puts her best foot forward.

There is some fun stuff from Tara Boom, including a great foot juggling act – and Arnold’s suspended hoop act is probably the moment where the live music and acrobatic endeavours most harmoniously fit together. Hilton Dennis dances up a storm as the King of the Ring, though the riff on boxing jousts – pitching skill against skill – isn’t the compelling thread that it could be.

A capacity audience is left wanting more on opening night, however. A dollop more sex appeal, or danger, or rib-splitting humour – a dollop of each, in fact! – would really give this show the oomph that a packed spiegeltent deserves.

Fun but flimsy frolics in Norwich – a breezy way to pass an evening, but not a patch on previous successes.