REVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams


A 7 Fingers Productiontraces chicago

Directed and choreographed by

Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider

At the Broadway Playhouse at Water tower Place, Chicago

Unique blend of acrobatic feats and dance movement marks new performance art show

Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider have found seven talented performers (mostly from Quebec, Canada) to populate their unique high energy urban acrobatic performance art show.  This 90 minute extravaganza is light on sets and lighting but does use video to enhance the manic movements and acrobatic bits. Early on,  after the seven performers run, jump, roll, dance with a combination of gymnastic and dance routines, the seven tell us their name and other vitals as an introduction setting up their individuality. Each work expertly in unison but each keep their individual skills making the show a platform to both.

traces chicago

traces chicago

Mason Ames, Valerie Benoit-Charbonneau, Mathieu Cloutier, Bradley Henderson, Phillippe Normand-Jenny, Xia Zhengqi and Florin Zumkehr bring their varied skills to entertain us. The show plays as if they group has illegally landed in a dark theatre as each player is just having fun showing off to each other.

traces chicago

They spin, twist, run, jump, do back-flips combining dance movements with acrobatic elements that include dangerous routines on two vertical bars and jumping through hoops. Many of the gravity-defying routines are fresh, urban and inventive. The seven have skills like folk singing and guitar playing – from Florian Zumkehr’s; Chinese acrobatics from Xia Zhengqi; and balancing on each other’s heads by several cast members. There is wordplay as the word “time” is exposed in all its uses. All sorts of techno music is used while the Harold Arlen tune “It’s Only a Paper Moon” is used in a clever skateboard dance bit.

This reasonably entertaining 90 minute show is devoid of spectacle as it relies on the agility and unique talents of the seven circus/acrobatic talents.  The opening night audience enthusiastically appreciated the eye-popping stunts and manic movements.  Those who love the Cirque shows will be impressed with the talent level of these seven.  However, with a ticket price between $50 and $71.50, I think Traces will have a hard time filling the 500+ seats at the Broadway Playhouse. Look for discount deals for this show.

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

At the Broadway Playhouse, 175 East Chestnut, chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000,, tickets $50 -$71.50, running time is 90 minutes without intermission.

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