Barbu: a circus show different to all the others 

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You may have seen the men from the Quebecois circus troupe Cirque Alfonse without realising who they are. You have without a doubt seen bearded men on rollerblades wearing only their underwear cruising around the streets of Adelaide during Adelaide Fringe either this year or 2 years ago when they last performed their show Barbu. Well, that’s them.

Image: Tony Kearney


Barbu has a new house this year, in the historic Bonython Hall at the University of Adelaide where it is part of the Royal Croquet Club’s Adelaide Fringe programme.


Music plays a very important role in Barbu. It is present from beginning to end. On stage, there are three musicians, including a corsetted lady on drums, a man in the centre as DJ and occasional violin player, and another who plays the electric guitar. The music is of the electro-trad style, and at times has a Middle Eastern feel with the occasional French such as the very amusing version of “Gentil Alouette”. If you are sound sensitive, you may want to wear ear plugs as the show is quite loud.


In Barbu, there are 4 main men and 2 women as well as an older, grey haired man who entertains the crowd with his skits which are more of the clowning variety than the rest of the circus acts. His “Loukas Le Mentaliste” act was particularly amusing. You will see some impressive strength displaying acts from the main troupe as well.


If you are scared of audience participation, we suggest that you don’t sit in the front row. But if you don’t mind it, or even welcome it, go for it!

All 10 people on stage in Barbu Electro Trad Caberet appeared to be having a great time. They seem to love their jobs! Their energy was infectious. The audience smiled with them.

Image: Tony Kearney


Barbu is a circus in which we get to see the physical strength of the troupe. These men are incredibly muscular and yet we see four of them creating a human tower, each one standing on the shoulders of the other. They almost reached the ceiling of Bonything Hall! There was an audible gasp when the top man took a rapid descent.


Cirque Alfonse is a troupe that does things differently. There is a funny sword swallower, and a very creative ending to the woman in the box act. Sometimes their skits are absurd (but this is intentional): seeing the men of Cirque Alfonse performing acts traditionally left to the women, such as the ribbon twirling and juggling of scarves. The human disco ball was fantastic and a change to the usual person balancing inside a gigantic hoop act. The audience laughed a lot at these acts. And then there are a whole bunch of other acts mixed in to the one hour 20 of the show.


Image: Tony Kearney


Barbu is a show for everyone (except for kiddies (there’s nudity)). You will laugh a lot as well as boogie in your seats to the thumping music. And you will be seriously impressed by their talents and strengths.


Overall, Barbu is a must-see show. Unfortunately its Adelaide Fringe season has finished. But if you get the chance to see them in the future – do it!

However you can still see their other show Tabarnak. You can buy your tickets here.

You can also read our interview about the show from last year here.




Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe.


You can also read out article about 22 must-see Adelaide Fringe shows here.

Related Posts

Matilda Marseillaise

Discover more from Matilda Marseillaise

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading