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Cirque Infernal’s journey beyond death

Cirque Infernal’s theatrical circus tale Mortalès, will show at the Mandela Stage of the Joburg Theatre from 6 to 23 September 2018. The show has shocked and astounded audiences around the world.

     Cirque Infernal was created by Danny Varanne in the mid-1990s. A gothic lover who grew up in the entertainment world, Varanne developed his appreciation for visual arts from his favourite movies, circus stories, and personal experiences. He put all of these elements into a blender, and Cirque Infernal was created.
     Born and raised in a traditional family of travelling performers, Varanne started as a showman at a very young age in his parents’ burlesque theatre. Then, with his brothers, Varanne started a motorcycle daredevil show. They toured the world and became internationally acclaimed for their skills. By the year 2000, the three brothers went their separate ways, each one following a new path.
     Varanne maintained the daredevil show, realising almost all of his dreams. In 2012, he received two awards at the prestigious Festival International Du Cirque De Monte-Carlo, and an official Guinness World Record. After this, it was time for something new, the development of his oldest and fondest dream: Cirque Infernal. Having spent two years searching around the world for the artists to work with his project, Varanne is now ready to present Cirque Infernal to the world. Mortalès is the first production created by Cirque Infernal.

Joburg Theatre

     The story of a circus performer, Mortalès is set in Europe in the middle ages. A troupe of tightrope walkers perform in a village on a windy day. The weather is dangerous. The daredevil shouldn’t mount the high wire, but it’s the only work his family has known for generations. As the funambulist starts to stride across the wire, a gust of wind strikes, causing him to plummet to his untimely demise. Finding himself face-to-face with Death, Death and the performer strike a deal: the performer comes back to life but in order to stay alive he must complete the show and avoid the messengers sent by Death. He is guided along the way by the Angeliques; the angels.
     The show tells the journey of the funambulist pursuing his goal. Will he succeed and earn the ultimate title of daredevil?
     The acts in the show were created by the company. Featuring two world firsts and thrilling draw droppers, the show also features touching romantic scenes and moments of pure poetry. The outcome is an exciting blend of Tim Burton and Fellini movies.
     Mortalès features some of the world’s top circus performers.
     Trapeze artists Celeste Bliss (USA) and François Colarusso (France/Canada) met at a school for circus arts in Quebec City, Canada. The duo now tour the world with their aerial acts.
     Wilson Stey (France) is the funambulist of the show. The 23-year-old recently married Chenly Vigne (one of the Angeliques). Originally from Germany, Stey’s ancestors have been walking the tightrope since the Middle Ages.

Joburg Theatre
Celeste Bliss and François Colarusso

    Pro Sufi dancer Aurelia Baque is a native of Toulouse, France. She spent half a year in an Indian Ashram, learning and practising daily the art of Sufi dancing.
     The (almost) fully tattooed Stephane Bucheton of France is a former FMX Biker. Tired of crashing, he befriended the Infernal Varanne Riders who taught him to ride the wall of death.
    Italian Bruno Alliot always says that he would rather ride a bike than walk. If he could, he would ride through the intricacies of life with pleasure. Alliot, whose father was also a wall of death biker, grew up with Danny’s family.
     Married on stage and in life, Scottish couple Rachel and Charlie Atlas push the boundaries of the knife throwing show. The beautiful burlesque performer meets Charlie, the street fighter.
     The beautiful Irina Naumenko studied contortion and other art forms at the world famous Circus School of Moscow. She has participated in the Monte Carlo circus festival and toured the world with the Cirque du Soleil.
    Romanian brothers Valentin and Catalin Badea are the Strong Men of the show.
     Johann Jacob Gorius is the rolla bolla (an acrobat performing on rolling cylinders) performer in the show. He is an Amish native of Alsace in France and his family worked in various circuses in California.
     French fire performer, Varanella, is the Queen of Darkness in the show.
     Though you won’t see him live, French actor Warren Zavatta is the voice of Death in the show.
     The show takes place on the Mandela Stage of the Joburg Theatre from 6 to 23 September 2018.
     For tickets book online at or call 0861 670 670.
     Early bird special 30% discount until 30 June 2018.
     Discounts available for students, pensioners and Groups of 10+. Special family packages available.
     Age restriction: 5+

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