I’m going to start with what this show theoretically is: its a romp through the minds of the mentally incongruous, experiencing the surrealist world of the human psyche through rhythmic dance and acrobatics.
Now, this is what the show experience is like: watching a bunch of beefcake, limbered up homeless people doing parkour to a soundtrack of DJ Shadow and Yann Tiersen.
When you walk into the theatre you are confronted with a morphing Rorschach test and the chairs of a psychologist’s office. There is a voiceover spouting factoids about the human brain and transitions perfectly to, very cleverly, introduce the characters.
The story, perfumed by Les 7 doigts de la main (The 7 fingers of the hand, or 7 Fingers, for short), is about tormented minds coming together to work through and even exercise their problems. It is the tie that binds throughout the overflow of visual stimulus, and allows the performers to not only exercise their seriously ridiculous feats of strength, but their acting and clowning skills as well.
At times hilarious, terrifying, detrimentally sad and enthusiastically hopeful, PSY is an unconventional physical and emotional ride.
With only moments of actual dialog, the story is told exclusively through movement: mind bending acts of endurance, skill, coordination and courage that leave you sweaty-palmed with jaw agape and generally shocked at what these nut jobs are doing without nets. High intensity juggling, tumbling, dance, even some skreet moves like tutting and flairs gave the show a raw edge alongside traditional acts. If this is the future of the circus then I’m in for the ride, and 7 Fingers is paving the way.
Were there gaffes? Sure, a couple. But the performers smoothly transitioned through them – which is what makes this show not only a fun-splosion, but charming, endearing. PSY has real soul, and the passion these performers feel for their craft emanates from the stage into you as you find yourself as excited about them doing the stunts as they are – eagerly anticipating what’s next while still trying to wrap your mind around what you just witnessed a moment ago.
And if that is not enough to convince you to see this show, what if I said that PSY features death defying acrobatics? Juggling! Trapeze! Chinese poles! German wheels! Mexican wrestling!
And everyone takes their clothes off.
No, really. Strippers and everyone takes their clothes off – more than once, actually. There’s even groping, sexual innuendo and other inappropriate behavior. What more could one want from a show? And for the record, as it seems the audience on opening night was unaware, it is totally appropriate to leap from your seat, cheering, whooping, gasping and clapping till’ your hands bleed when you see someone get catapulted across a theatre and land on their feet. It’s the least you could do – they are only risking their lives to entertain you gawking heathens.
I’m not sure there is anything else I can really say that will effectively convey how fucking awesome this show was. If I had read the best possible review of PSY and I then saw the show, I’d still be walking out of The Cutler Majestic saying “I can’t believe no one told me how awesome this show was”.
Well, I’m telling you now. I don’t care if you don’t like ‘the theatre’. I don’t care how busy you are diddling with your Google+ profile to get off your couch for 2 days. It’s a 2min walk from the goddamn Park Street station, I’m not sure how much easier these guys can make it for you.
Honestly? If someone told me that a badass Russian woman would be doing a routine on a rope, dangling from the ceiling with nothing holding her up but sheer strength, to this sweet jam:
I would have been in that theatre in a heartbeat. A dirty souf heartbeat.
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston. (617) 824-8000. maj.org
7.12-7.24 [Tue-Thur 7:30pm; Fri 8pm, Sat 5pm, 9pm; Sun 3pm & 7pm]