Cuisine and Confessions is a feast for the senses

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Cuisine and Confessions | Les 7 doigts | Jaunuary25 – 29, 2017 | Vancouver Playhouse | Presented by Théâtre la Seizième 

Death-defying acrobatic feats, infectious humour, and a meal at the end of it all: these are the ingredients for a spectacular show. From the audience interaction before the show to the tasty treats at the end, this show was a complete joy.

The nine acrobats of Les 7 doigts weave culinary stories in between their impressive acts while sharing their favourite foods, discussing intimate food-related memories, and fantasizing about foods they love. Their first course is an omelet, and the perfect omelet, they explain, needs eggs, peppers, onions — and love. Cracking eggs with one hand, throwing eggs over the audience, and finally bringing an audience member on stage, they prepared the omelet of love while the acrobats, utensils and ingredients alike were tossed around the stage and over the large kitchen island that served many purposes.

One of the most impressive acts saw two of the male acrobats throwing themselves through wooden squares that were stacked three high. The grace, agility and performative quality that they brought to the act makes it that much more impressive. The entire troupe shares this ability to take what may be seen as standard acrobatic tricks we’ve seen many times and imbue them with creativity, style, and, most importantly, humour.     

Reminiscent of the clowning seen in a Cirque du Soleil show, some of the acrobats tease each other while others act out a persona — for example the Spanish speaker would speak very quickly and get himself worked up only to have the others stop and stare at him until he calmed down.

Another hilarious scene spoofed infomercials with all of them standing around the island explaining why their cheese grater was top of the line, ending with one of them dressed in kitchen armour (graters on his arms, a colander on his head, a pot lid serving as a shield and a spatula as a weapon). This is the kind of quirky creativity that makes the show such a pleasure to watch. You never know what they’re going to come up with next.

Another impressive act was the aerial silks (more like aerial dish towels with the plaid fabric standing in for the usual silky cloth). There were audible gasps from the audience as she twirled, twisted and dropped with precision and grace. More gasps were heard as one of the acrobats told his story of growing up in Argentina in between climbing up a thin pole and allowing himself to drop, his legs gripping the pole tighter to stop him just above the stage.

For the second course, three audience members were brought on stage to help make banana bread, but first they were seated at a small table, the acrobats hiding behind the island and letting them fend for themselves in the spotlight. They did their best to make awkward small talk until the acrobats rescued them and included them in the dance that was mixing the banana bread. The audience was asked to set our phone timers to 36 minutes, and the banana bread went in the oven.

After more daring, dazzling acrobatics and throwing flour all over the stage and themselves, the smell of fresh baked banana bread began to waft into the audience, and we knew the show was coming to a close. For the final course, they made pasta, the Argentinian explaining that his father, who was a desaparecido, would love it. The most intimate moments and deep secrets seem to be shared over food, and I’m grateful that Les 7 doigts invited us into their quirky, creative kitchen for a couple of hours.     

The company that wowed Vancouver two years ago with Séquence 8 has once again created a show full of much more than acrobatic tricks. This show has depth, meaning, humour — and food made with love.

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