Created by France’s Triple Croches, Jamais 2 sans 3 is a gem for circus and music fans alike. The three performers of the self-described “musical burlesque circus” never cease to surprise. Their only wish is to play some music for you, but their plans are interrupted by missing instruments, a penchant for juggling and, mostly, each other.
A Chinese pole stands in the middle of the stage. A lot of time is spent climbing up the 16-foot pole with instruments in tow, only to realize that the sheet music/stand/chair is still below. They then scale down the pole to retrieve it. It’s unbelievable how many variations on this theme can remain compelling. Between each performer’s distinct character and the hilarious relationships between them, that pole is more than enough for a brilliant show. Throw in a ladder, and a very Three Stooges-esque tendency to injure each other, and you’ve got a great burlesque set-up.
The troupe has an unbelievable talent for blurring the line between amazing physical feats and very serious accidents. In fact, some of the free-falls, crashes and collisions were borderline frightening. (The woman beside me was particularly tense.) Thank goodness for the squealing laughter from the kids in the audience, reminding everyone that the safety concerns are probably covered.
The saxophone, clarinet and guitar playing are all superb. That’s obvious from the top of the show, but each performer continues to pull more talents out of his sleeve. The guitarist is a brilliant juggler, the clarinettist can pull off pirouettes on a unicycle (while playing, of course), and the saxophonist has some serious acrobatic skills. Oh, and they’re all proficient with each others’ instruments as well as their own.
While the opening farce-style run-around drags on a bit too long, by the time the real characters of Jacob, Alberto, and Isaac start to reveal themselves, Jamais 2 sans 3 becomes a highly theatrical romp, and great lesson in the versatility of Bouffon.
Jamais 2 sans 3 completed its run yesterday at Studio B in Verdun as part of the Weekend cirque à Verdun programming, which is itself part of the relatively new festival, Montréal Complètement Cirque.