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Teaser 1 of " Mortalès" 

Teaser 2 of " Mortalès" 

Interview of Danny Varanne 


The new show mixes the Gothic with the traditions of the circus, with muscular male performers and attractive, tattooed females in revealing costumes, performing a variety of disciplines that are, at times, jaw-dropping and others sheer poetry in motion. - Peter Feldman for Artlinks (Article)

It’s a sophisticated show with a variety of acts heightened by pulsating music for the thrilling parts, some Spanish rap for the funky parts or calming, melodious tunes to match whatever feats are being performed. The fabulous lighting creates a succession of moods and the artists are all superb. -Lesley Stones for Artlinks ( Article)

Creator and founder Danny Varanne effortlessly transports you to another dimension where make believe comes to life and we are forced to adapt to the wonders of circus excitement. - David Simmons for Stage and screens ( Article

Highly recommended and definately worth the cost of admission - even at twice the price, but not for the fainthearted!

You're advised to have a stiff drink to calm your nerves before, during, and after the show! -Edward Chamberlain-Bell 

The Vision of a New Circus comes to town!

by David Simmons

With just a few days into spring, things are gradually warming up at Joburg Theatre! For the next two weeks, Cirque Infernal takes to the stage and kick starts the warmer months with a fiery bang! With a proudly all-European cast, this part circus part fantasy journey brings a certain mystery and interest to its offering. It’s not often we get to witness circus acts on a stage, let alone in a circus setting however, the weird and wonderful characters of this production set the stage ablaze for a night of make believe, nail-biting antics and pure theatrical magic!

Having been awfully spoilt for choice this year with locally and internationally produced productions, we are long overdue for some light hearted (and at times toe curling!) family fun. Reminiscent of the side shows of the 1920’s, Cirque Infernalsits in a league of its own. With a group of talented performers each honing in on their respective skills (some more challenging than others), this modern showcase is full of energy and punch. It has a driving force that entrances the audience with a package full of tricks and boundless curiosity.

Over the centuries circus acts have had world-wide appeal and there is no doubting that Cirque Infernal will fascinate Johannesburg audiences alike. It may be the risk-taking presentations that add that extra audience thrill or the fact that one never really knows what to expect.

In our collective subconscious we hope with crossed fingers that there will be zero slipups or even a few missteps, however the slick nature of this show doesn’t allow for any fails or disappointments.

There are the usual moments of gasps and shock but for the most part you will feel like getting up on your chair and cheering the artists on. With a group of eccentrics each playing their part with excellence and bravery you will be wowed with a tour de force of expertise and flair.

It’s always intriguing to see circus type performers who use their own talents without the use of animals to enhance their acts.  This animal friendly show is jam-packed with a unique offering and stylish mix of showstoppers. Backed by an avant-guard soundtrack, changing throughout to create a mysterious yet somewhat bizarre dream like atmosphere, we are introduced to the characters that each bring their talents to life in this two-act show.

From tightrope walking and fire-eating to a contortionist who effortlessly weaves herself in and out of her own body, we are simply spoilt for choice. Scottish husband and wife team Rachel Irving and Charlie Peratt are one of the highlights of the show. They make knife-throwing look like a breeze and although their act is difficult to watch there are fortunately no fatalities! We are also introduced to the two Romanian brothers Valentin and Catalin Badea, who effortlessly use their bodies in an act of balance and true acrobatic style. The show comes to close with the wall of death, an explosive and visually appealing set of motorbikes and daredevils.  We won’t give too much away – you’ll have to see the show to experience the Cirque Infernal grand finale!

Creator and founder Danny Varanne effortlessly transports you to another dimension where make believe comes to life and we are forced to adapt to the wonders of circus excitement.

Cirque Infernal is anything but bright lights and fairy dust. It’s dark and gothic and at times there are moments of unease however for the most part and especially for novice enthusiasts of circus escapades, you’ll get to experience an incredibly versatile and eclectic show.

Cirque Infernal will be running at the Joburg Theatre until the 23rd of September 2018. Tickets are available at Webtickets or at the theatre.

There’s an age restriction of No Under 5’s.

Cirque Infernal’s journey beyond death

March 31, 2018 (Article by / )

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.



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.


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