Cirque Alfonse’s new show Animal is barnyard brilliance

Cirque Alfonse Animal (c) Matilda Marseillaise
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Cirque Alfonse has finally returned to Australia (and Adelaide Fringe) for the first time since 2019 with a brand-new show called Animal, written during COVID. We’re not sure if the absence has made our hearts grow fonder but Cirque Alfonse is hitting all the high notes and performing at their peak. This time it’s a family-friendly affair – if you saw Barbu and Tabarnak you’d recall there was cheeky adult humour.

Cirque Alfonse Animal (c) Matilda Marseillaise
(c) Matilda Marseillaise

The show is called Animal because it’s farm-inspired but don’t expect everyone to be dressed as animals per se but rather in costumes inspired by farm animals. The only moment you’ll see a completely recognisable farm animal is when an artist in a cow costume dances comically and chaotically.


What you will see however, is familiar farm equipment and tools being used as props for the various mind-blowing, at times nerve-wracking, acts performed. Think a mini-tractor being ridden on stage, juggling a pitchfork, standing on old-fashioned metal milk jars, dancing with scythes, performing acrobatics from a giant tractor tyre or a mechanical bull, or throwing a very heavy and very large metal bell between members of the troupe at opposite ends of the stage.


Every single performer in the troupe is as capable and talented as the last. Human pyramids? 5 performers in a human pyramid while on a balance board? Pas de problème! Even 78 year-old Dad, Alain Carabinier, climbs to dizzying heights on a pole, not secured to the ground but balanced solely on Antoine’s shoulder and held with one hand. The female performers display their impressive strength in various mesmerising acrobalance acts. The flyer piggybacking while the base cautiously steps from one metal milk jar to another.


As has become almost a tradition for circus shows these days, the music is performed live on stage. Coined agricultural funk, the songs presented throughout the show are written and performed by the very same artists who perform the circus acts you see throughout. There is even an album of the show which you can listen to via this link.

Cirque Alfonse Animal (c) Matilda Marseillaise
(c) Matilda Marseillaise

Cirque Alfonse is a family Quebecois circus and we really appreciate that they didn’t decide to translate their songs or the few moments of speech into English for the crowd. “Welcome to the farm” is about the only English spoken in the show and being a circus show, understanding the words sung in the songs is not at all important to appreciating the incredible talent of these performers.


There are nine artists on stage, three of whom perform the music that we hear throughout. The five main performers alternate between performing their circus acts to singing or jumping on an instrument. Antoine Carabinier, head of the troupe plays the accordion, trumpet and sings when he is not centre stage.


Cirque Alfonse’s Animal shows the same brand of Quebecois circus we have grown accustomed to from their previous shows Barbu and Tabarnak – edgy, extremely talented and incredibly daring. An OH&S person would probably feel uncomfortable but while their acts reach dizzying heights and seem quite dangerous (if they were to go wrong), the care that has gone into preparing the show is visible from beginning to end. It is clear that the performers have worked together for thousands of hours and understand each other deeply in the way that they move and work closely with each other.


And while they take safety seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously and throughout Animal their joy radiates. The show is also sprinkled with comedy and cheekiness– particularly an early scene with chickens taunting the farmer – they even have their own song. Co-founder of the troupe, and sister to Antoine, Julie Carabinier’s contemporary dance training is also apparent when she dances whenever she isn’t participating in a circus act.


Cirque Alfonse Animal is absolute must-see circus this Adelaide Fringe 2024. We’d happily see it every night of the festival and never get bored. We hope to see them again next year – please don’t make us wait another 5 years again!


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of The Garden of Unearthly Delights


You can get a taste of the show in our Facebook story but also in the video below



WHAT: Cirque Alfonse – Animal at Adelaide Fringe 2024

WHERE: The Roundhouse, The Garden of Unearthly Delights, ADELAIDE

WHEN: Nightly (except Mondays) at 8pm until 17 March 2024

HOW: Purchase your tickets via the Adelaide Fringe website:

HOW MUCH: Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Full price $65
  • Concession $55
  • Family (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children) $200 ($50 each but can only be purchased in multiples of 4 tickets)


Want to know more about Cirque Alfonse Animal? Read our interview with Antoine Carabinier-Lepine about the show here.

You may also like to read our reviews of their past shows Barbu and Tabarnak and our interview with Antoine about Tabarnak here.


For more shows with French and Francophone links at Adelaide Fringe 2024, click here. To discover shows by artists who have trained at French clown schools, click here.


Reviews of other Adelaide Fringe 2024 shows:

I(ce) S(cream) Boléro Femme & The Other Side

Flamenco Electro

In pour taste: a comedy wine tasting


For events with links to France and the Francophonie happening all over Australia this month, click here.

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