French couple’s dockside show enthralls crowds at yacht club
Reminiscent of a Charlie Chaplin classic, a French acrobatic duo wowed audiences with their unique display of silent comedy and romantic skits aboard their sailboat, La Loupiote, while at anchor in front of the Algoa Bay Yacht Club in the Port Elizabeth Harbour at the weekend.
Acrobats Delphine Lechifflart, 46, and Franck Rabilier, 48, have sailed all around the world where they have showcased their unique “circusnavigating” to audiences in Australia, Paris and Morocco, among many countries.
The duo relies on donations received during their performance to fund the continuation of their voyage.
The first show, titled The Sailor, pokes fun at the mishaps of clumsy skippers who try to manoeuvre their way around the sailboat while showcasing their acrobatic abilities.
The second, titled Between Wing and Island, sketches the romantic and humorous aspects of the male-female relationship in a poetic spectacle of aerial choreography.
After 12 years aboard their eye-catching, bright yellow vessel, the performers brought their two-part show to the Bay’s shores after recently sailing from Richards Bay.
Having delivered their last performances yesterday, they plan to spend some more time in the Nelson Mandela Bay region, before, weather permitting, they make their way to Simonstown.
Jeffreys Bay resident Ian van der Westhuizen, 38,who brought his family along, said after watching the duo’s performances that he had hope for the Bay as far as unique entertainment was concerned.
“Their performance reminded me of a Laurel and Hardy stunt, which was really stimulating to see, Van der Westhuizen said.
“They have managed to bring a unique flavour to our little part of the world and the fact that it was on a boat in our harbour just made it more exciting.”
While acknowledging that the shows were well supported, Van der Westhuizen said he would have liked to see a bigger crowd.
Brothers Daniel, 8, and Christian Naude, 10, of Lorraine, said they enjoyed the slow motion part of the skit the most.
Port Elizabeth resident Lauren Hewitt, 32, of Colleen Glen, who watched the performances with her family, said she too was reminded of Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin.
“I really enjoyed it because it is almost like a comedy of errors,” Hewitt said.
“The way they see-sawed on the pulley was very clever in the way that they assisted one another.”
Lechifflart, who was even more mesmerising during the second show, said they had received a warm welcome from the residents in the Bay.
“It has been a good experience for us performing for the people in this city,” she said.
“While Port Elizabeth is known as the windy city, which is of concern because it could affect our performances, the wind was very good to us,” Lechifflart said.
The performers are sailing across the world with their youngest daughter, Ondja, 8, who is keen on getting involved in the act one day.