Cirque Alfonse “Timber!”, presented by Portland’s White Bird Dance, April 20

Who doesn’t dream of running away and joining the circus?

Well, maybe not everybody, but few in attendance for Cirque Alfonse at the Schnitzer Wednesday night would have passed up the chance to at least see “Timber!” again, and soon.

Silly, funny, death-defying and straight-up beautiful, Cirque Alfonse’s latest show is a kind of lumberjack modern dance circus act – think beards and suspenders and union suits – set to gorgeous French-Canadian music.

Under the direction of Alain Francoeur, the Quebequois company creates an organic mix of spectacle and fun, caching within its production some good old-fashioned storytelling and lush, languid dance.

The group was presented as part of Whitebird’s 2016 dance series, to the wild enthusiasm of the audience that included many Timbers/Thorns fans – how smart of Whitebird’s marketing team to do outreach to these diehards.

To kids and adults alike, this show has simply universal appeal.

So what’s to love? Acrobatics for starters, but not the oddly contortionist, pre-pubescent fare we’ve seen so many times before. No, these gymnasts are big guys, wearing Carhart jeans and plaid shirts, and tossing giant logs, and each other, around like toothpicks.

There’s axe throwing, whip cracking, saw bending, log rolling, grandpa flying, potato hurling, man flipping, clogging, singing – and the undercurrent throughout is this irreverent spirit of adventure, a pure joie de vivre.

Watching Cirque Alfonse, one has this sensation of comfort and ease wash over, like you know they’ve performed for live crowds so many times before, they just know, exactly what will tickle your funny bone, what will make you hold your breath, or laugh or smile.

Buttressed by the Vaudeville champs who came before them, Cirque Alfonse is the real deal. If you have the chance, run, don’t walk, to get tickets.

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