It turned out to be Cirque Alfonse with their show BARBU: Electro Trad Cabaret. An old-fashioned circus act of incredible feats of strength, humour, and a bit of playful raunch.
I was showing my friend these photos and when I mentioned the sword swallowing act she turned away. "I can't stand sword swallowing, it makes me feel awful to watch it, she said." I told her she would probably be ok with this one!
For the most part these four bearded blokes stole the show with their incredible acrobatic feats of strength. (Above, and below again, that's one bloke holding the weight of three others).
Their ribbon twirling game was excellent too.....
and airborne ribbon twirling....
There were two super-strong and agile women in the group too.
While I taking tons of photos I was also resolving with all my heart to spend a lot more time planking. Every day. I missed the shot but one of men did a perfect 'human flagpole', which is being suspended by the hands, with body perfectly horizontal from the pole. (Not what they're doing in the photo below, though that's very cool too). The flagpole takes an insane amount of strength and I would love to be able to do that! I may have to work out more than once a week though.
Below, that's a full beer keg and he did a whole routine with it. Now that's functional strength!