Robot Infidèle. Hat Tricks at Little Island by a French Canadian Circus Troupe

” Robot Infidèle”  is a nearly-wordless, hour-long show that’s being presented for just three nights (ending tonight), at Little Island, the odd new pier and public park with two outdoor theaters that has one month left in its second delightful season — the kind of outdoor entertainment that is absolutely the best thing about late summer evenings in New York City.

Machine de Cirque publicity still

Yohann Trépanier, a co-founder and one of the three performers on stage from Machine de Cirque, a circus troupe based in Québec City, performs acrobatic feats with a bicycle, a spinning bicycle wheel, a lamppost, a ladder, a wooden crate, but mostly, a whole bunch of hats. There is a hat conveyor belt, and at one point a hat monster, but it’s mostly just juggled hats. The show gives a new definition to “hat trick.”  We’re apparently supposed to see Trépanier as a hatmaker, trying to fulfill a really large order for hats. (We see Frédéric Lebrasseur – playing Trepanier’s boss?– answer the phone several times and mumble words to that effect.) But that’s the weak frame for the series of gentle stunts, and one terrific revelation: The piano music we’ve been hearing all along is not a recording.  Laurence Sabourin-Laflamme has been performing it live, inside a crate, upside down.

I’m not sure why they call the show “Robot Infidèle,” which translates as “cheating robot.” I for one didn’t feel cheated. 

Clockwise from top left: the audience for Robot Infidle at the AMPH at Little Island, Yohann Trépanier sitting atop the crate in which Laurence Sabourin-Laflamme is playing the piano, some of the many hats on stage, Trépanier up a ladder leaning against a lamppost, on top of the lamppost with a bicycle wheel twirling on his head, inside the hat monster costumer.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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