By STEVEN HOWELL
---- — MONTREAL — The circus isn’t in town, the circus is all over town.
La Tohu, the city’s premiere circus venue, presents Montreal Completement Cirque (Montreal Completely Circus), a midsummer fest with all things circus in mind. The event combines free and ticketed circus-performance arts and activities with more than 80 events at one dozen locations through Sunday, July 14.
La Tohu’s main venue in the St. Michel neighborhood plays home to many events, and a number of free activities are hosted in the Latin Quarter at Place Emilie Gamelin and along St. Denis Street.
Here’s what to expect.
The young circus troupe Flip Fabrique offers “Attrape-moi” (“Catch Me”), a new show that employs fun with Hula-Hoops, exercise balls and a trampowall — a trampoline and vertical-wall combo — at La Tohu today through Wednesday, July 10. Tickets to the all-ages show cost $31.50 to $37.
All juggling, all the time — times nine. Dubbed “Downton Abbey meets Monty Python,” Gandidni Juggling, a nine-member juggling act from Britain, presents “Smashed” tonight through Monday, July 8, at Theatre Outremont. “Smashed” is a mesmerizing mix of juggling hijinx — the entire troupe juggles 80 apples at once — featuring an eclectic soundtrack that includes Bach and Tammy Wynette. Tickets to the all-ages show range from $33.50 to $49.50.
From Australia, making their North American premiere, is the troupe Propaganda, which offers a kaleidoscope of quirky characters and eclectic acrobatics. The performance runs from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, at Usine C. Tickets to the show, which is for ages 9 and older, cost $32 and $37.
For some free fun, check out Minutes Completement Cirque in the Latin Quarter near Emery Street every night throughout the fest (except Monday). The mini circus shows that seem to crop up out of nowhere are at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Nearby, Place Emilie Gamelin, an urban park that borders the Latin Quarter and the Gay Village, hosts “Babel,” a free hour-long outdoor circus extravaganza, at 7 and 10 nightly (except Monday) through Saturday, July 13.
Parc Jean Drapeau hosts free high-flying trapeze shows — and lessons — presented by Cirque Carpe Diem. It’s held throughout the day between 2 and 8 p.m. this weekend as well as Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14.
La Tohu closes the fest with “Completely Circus Weekend,” a free weekend of circus-themed events July 13 and 14. Activities include introductory circus workshops, where attendees can try a pair of stilts; a circus-makeup workshop; fair games; and the exhibition “Champs D’Ooiseaux,” a kooky collection of birds created by recycling artist Vincent Daoust.
Free performances for the day include Alexo and Bisha, two former Cirque du Soleil clowns who do a bit of juggling and rola-bola, at 3 and 5 p.m.
LaboKracBoom is an imaginative work that features a mad scientist, his evil assistant, a clone prototype and a broken puppet — all set in an underground laboratory. The performance is at 4 p.m.
A bearded lady’s caravan also takes to the Tohu grounds throughout the day from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
La Tohu is at 2345 Jarry St. E. (at the corner of Iberville Street). Call (514) 376-8648 or visit www.tohu.com for questions. For venue locations, also call (514) 285-9175 or visit www.montrealcompletementcirque.com.
Steven Howell is the author of Montreal Essential Guide, a Sutro Media iPhone travel app available at iTunes.com.