‘Blizzard’ hits Chico


Photo by SEBASTIEN DUROCHER. Courtesy of Chico Performances

The large cube served not only as a prop, but was used by the acrobats as a balancing beam throughout the performance.

World renowned Canadian circus group “Cirque Flip Fabrique” performed their new show “Blizzard” at Laxson Auditorium, Thursday night. 

Through its original musical score, zany characters and breathtaking visuals, “Blizzard” took audience members on a poetic journey that was as enticing as it was heart-pounding. 

“It’s a bit of a homage to Canada and winter and what it means to be in wintertime,” acrobat and baseman Jack Mcgarr said. “You know when school would be closed, you would play around in the snow and all of that, kind of more of the fun things about winter.”

While the show certainly lived up to this description, it’s contemporary style proved to reveal much more about the human experience and spoke to the inner child that lives within us all. 

Walking a thin line between haunting and beautiful, the opening number made it clear from the beginning that the audience was in for a serious emotional rollercoaster. 

The theater turned pitch black as a news reporter’s voice rang out over a heavy interference of static, warning of an impending snowstorm. The silhouettes of the performers lined the stage as a mysterious blue light rose from the background and slowly, as if fighting strong winds, climbed a trapeze pole made to look embedded in ice. 

After reaching the top of the structure, the lights picked up and the audience was met with a flurry of movement as the performers moved into a series of intricate flips, jumps and complex aerial displays. Gasps from the audience were audible as members seemed to effortlessly toss one another into the air, indicating just how much control and trust is required by individuals in this line of work. 

“We’re all friends, we all know each other, it’s a really small business,” flyer and hula-hooper William Jutras said. “We learn to trust (our fellow performers) over time.”

The set of the show was extremely simplistic but also incredibly creative in its ability to showcase ] how much a single, giant cube can be used for. The large prop, one of the only ones present onstage, acted as a tall building for flyers to leap from, a mirror during an intimate partner dance, a balancing beam and a trampoline trick landing pad. 

Comedic breaks were used as performers transitioned sets, mainly focusing on the short tales of “little guy” (Jutras), an adorable character whose endearing clumsiness quickly made him an audience fan favorite. His popularity soared more when he was first to break the stormy weather and perform a “summer song,” in which he broke out in full beach gear and put on a dazzling display of hula-hoop artistry.

The music was instrumental to the show’s success, with a live piano player not only present onstage but integrated into the fabric of the show itself. Performers interacted with the musician frequently, at one point covering his eyes with their hands as he continued to carry on a somber melody. 

One of the most impressive feats of the show was its climatic ending, which involved the performers hoisting up the cube prop to rest on a single corner. The structure began to spin as the entire troupe piled inside, creating a perfectly balanced human pyramid as snow began to rain from the ceiling. 

Earning a standing ovation from an intrigued crowd, the show truly encompassed its motto that winter is indeed not just a season, but a way of life. 


Kirstin Joyce can be reached at [email protected] or @joyce_kirstin on Twitter.