Camille Boitel, L’homme de Hus

Review in Issue 17-2 | Summer 2005

Job, you may recall, is the old testament character who maintained his faith despite the many afflictions sent by God to test him. In this perfectly-realised piece of physical performance by circus performer Camille Boitel, those afflictions take numerous infuriating forms that would test the patience of – well, Job.

There is, for a start, the biggest ever stack of chairs that rise to dizzy heights, fall down, collapse sideways like dominoes. With a stage persona pitched somewhere between angel and fool, Boitel doggedly continues to climb, stack, tumble and start over as it all falls down. Just watching makes you want to tear your hair out. This series of tasks is pursued beyond any reasonable limit. Then there is the big black dress – an absurd sculptural body-suit with a solid frame and holes for arms, legs and head – not that any of these can manage to stay in the right place. Legs pop out through arm-holes, sometimes he has no head at all, and at one extraordinary moment it really seems as if Boitel has put his legs on back-to-front.

The piece is completely informed by and reliant on the exceptional physical talents of Boitel, a graduate of the Fratellini Circus School and a member of James Thierrée’s La Compagnie du Hanneton. Circus arts are undergoing a renaissance in the UK, but it will be awhile before we have home-grown performers of this magnitude – so it is inspirational to see the possibilities for circus performance in shows such as this.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-2
p. 26