LAST year it was anarchic mountain bikers turning somersaults and staging mock battles around the roof of a honking Renault 5. This year it is a menage-a-trois on a couch in front of a 1950s television set, with the two women and lucky man swinging from elastic cords, dancing and jumping together in a satire of Fred Astaire. Archaos, the crazy French circus performers who came to the 1994 festival bearing chainsaws and blow torches, were so popular among the Hong Kong audiences that the organisers invited what could be an even crazier, even more unusual, group for next year's festival. Philippe Decoufle's Petites Pieces Montees (as one American critic pointed out, it was unclear whether the name means 'little assembled pieces' or 'short theatrical works that go zoom') will be the circus highlight of the Arts Festival. This is the first piece that Decoufle choreographed since his specially-created show was an unmitigated success at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville. The extraordinary images of airborne acrobats bouncing on giant bungee ropes, dancers on tall stilts and crazy flying contraptions gave Decoufle instant worldwide recognition and led him to be dubbed France's leading choreographer: he was only 30 at the time. The set of Petites Pieces Montees gives the impression of a living dolls house: a three-storey house with a cellar and with no front wall. It is a paper cutout of a building, with the pulleys, chains and gears on the outside, like a Richard Rogers architectural drawing. The audience plays the role of Peeping Tom, allowed to observe the 11 men and women in the cast as they go about their daily tasks, seemingly unsuspecting that they are being observed. So, as the show starts, a woman is calmly doing the washing up: it is just another day in suburbia. Then, without warning, she clambers up the wall, hooks on to a lamp, jumps on to a table which crashes under her, scattering dishes all over the floor and then restarts her housework as if nothing had happened. It is a foretaste of the artistic rules of the piece: anything can and does happen in this animated cartoon come to life. Chairs spin round, a dancer does barre exercises 10 metres above the ground and lovers are sucked into a hole into the carpet as they sing a camped-up disco tune. It is a choreographic recipe that has had audiences in stitches of laughter during sell-out shows in cities throughout France. Festival talent scouts have been mesmerised and, so far, the show has had international bookings in Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Korea, Japan and - next February - Hong Kong. Decoufle started his career by running away from home to join the circus at the age of 16. He later trained with international mime artist Marcel Marceau and attended the experimental National Contemporary Dance Centre in Angers run by the avant-garde dance choreographer Alwin Nikolai. His artistic career includes films (Breezechasers, with dwarfs walking through a suburban garden, hanging from ferris wheels, watching B movies), music video clips (including Fine Young Cannibals, New Order ) and commercials (for Loft and Peugeot). The type of work he creates - whether film or performance - has even led the French to coin the word 'decouflesque', indicating anything that has the characteristic whacky, frothy style of this very witty choreographer.