Circus magic, anarchic comedy….and the sound of Derby brass!

Acclaimed French company Circa Tsuica brings its unique and non-traditional style of circus to English audiences with new show Opus 7 at Déda, Derby on 4 and 5 March.  

It’s an unruly blend of daredevil acrobatics and ripping musical rhythms performed by eight acrobat musicians…with special guest appearances by local musicians Saxophonix.

Circa Tsuica is the creation of Cheptel Aleïkoum, a collective of unique French entertainers who tour the world performing their feel-good shows.

And for the company’s first visit to the UK, the show has a distinctly British flavour, thanks to that special contribution by Derby’s brass musicians.

John Highfield spoke to Circa Tsuica founder member Tom Neal about the idea for the piece (despite his very English name, Tom was born and grew up in the South of France, the son of an English father and a French mother).

“It is based loosely on the concept of a military band, though the rigidity of that format is very quickly dispensed with” he explains.

“At first it might seem like it is going to be something very conventional - but that’s absolutely what it is not!” he says. “Very quickly it becomes something more anarchic.

“There’s a lot of humour in the show, a mixture of music and circus that brings a very special feeling to the show because it is something really new.”

And adding that extra little bit of magic and comic potential is the presence of the guest brass musicians, playing three compositions from the company’s repertoire of Balkan brass and American jazz and taking part in Circa Tsuica’s techniques of ‘sound painting’ and moving as they play – as well as introducing their own local flavour into the mix.

“Including guest brass bands is something very new for this show,” Tom admits. “As a company we all play instruments - I myself play the banjo - but it will be very interesting to see how the guest groups fit in. It will be very different at every venue.

“Usually if you go to see a band, you are enjoying the way they play the music but here there is so much more happening.

“We like to really play with the instruments, their shape, their sound, the way the sound moves as the player moves.

“So we are moving all the time, jumping, running - things that give the audience another way of hearing the music.

“It’s going to be fun seeing how we match the music of the guest musicians with the company, how we all integrate. We won’t force them to go on stage and do crazy stuff because it could be a bit risky…unless they want to, of course!”