This free-flowing performance piece will have audiences saying "wow."
While the show's spectacular feats might remind one of Cirque Du Soleil productions (as well as Stomp), the big difference here is that one can watch seven recognizable, jovial artists with distinct characteristics. The seven 20-something men -- Mason Ames (the romantic), Mathieu Cloutier (the loner), Bradley Henderson (the goof), Philippe Normand-Jenny (the class clown), Xia Zhengqi (the wild card), Florian Zumkehr (the daredevil) and Charbonneau (the flirt) -- let their personalites come through no matter what. They are always evolving and building different dynamics together
Indeed, at times, the audience feels as if they are spying on a bunch of goofy friends, fooling around in a back room: horsing about, singing, and flirting. Then without a moment's notice, the men break into jaw-dropping flips, catapults, and violations to poles that the ladies of Showgirls would never have attempted. Their bodies wrap in ways that defy gravity.
The numbers that stand out are those that mock conventions or are calculated chaos, such as the opening brawl to the industrial sound of rock group Vast's "Touched." The group also cleverly takes on the 1920s and 1930s utilizing Harold Arlen's "It's Only A Paper Moon" with both bamboo dances and Busby Berkeley-like kaleidoscope movements, but with skateboards and rollerblades as props.
There's also a lyrical piece with lone female Valérie Benoít-Charbonneau swinging from the web in a slinky red dress -- one of the many provocative images created by director-choreographers Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider.
The one misstep is the show's attempt to have a continuous through-line. Throughout the evening, there are monologues about time and videos about growing up, but it's not entirely clear what the writers want to say. And with a show as entertaining as Traces, words are hardly necessary.