Smoke in the Gardens


Magical fire gardens, by Carabosse, in Bournemouth

THEY are playing with fire and smoke in Bournemouth this week.

The fire is courtesy the Carabosse Company, a French performance collective, which has transformed the Lower Gardens into a ‘magical fiery landscape’. They really have done that. It’s cosy warm and I have not seen so many people having a wonderful time in the Gardens, ever.

And the smoke? That’s from Fuel, a fantastic group of free-runners and dancers, who are performing in a 360-degree open air theatre by the pier. I was too cheap to pay the £15 to go in, so I climbed some stairs and watched from the back of the set.

Fuel performing The Roof in Bournemouth

The performance was of a composition called The Roof. Lots of running around and circusy jumps across tight ledges set high on a circular set that hissed with coloured smoke. It was all astonishingly well timed and spectacularly colourful. The audience stood and watched in the middle of the set, listening to surround sound through headphones. It looked like a lot of fun.

I did go in the next day, and it was fun, which prompted me to do a bit of digging around. Fuel, I have come to know, is funded by the Arts Council England, and is London-based. Check out The Roof here. And for a glimpse of the performance, here’s a video:

As for Carabosse, what they do is impressive. They take over large spaces—gardens, towns, that sort of thing—and “set fire in a public space, while guaranteeing free circulation, making it vibrate with the closeness of our work to the spectator”. Given the healthy and safety mania in England, how they managed to get the required permission to do something of this scale is even more impressive than their artistry. Anyway, click through to their artistic aim to know more. And here’s a YouTube video I found, a reportage on how they actually go about creating their amazing show. Enjoy!



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