Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams

A bed sits in the centre of the huge Lafayette big top at Underbelly’s Circus Hub. The Man in the Moon appears on a small, circular screen and tells us of two boys (who promptly appear on stage) and how they dreamed of being in the circus. The boys climb into bed, fall asleep and the show begins proper. It’s a theatrical retelling of how, as children, the creators of Circus Abyssinia dreamed of being in a real, western circus and it’s a sweet moment, but an unnecessary opening to a circus show that more than stands on its own merits as a cavalcade of skills and thrills.

A phenomenal hour of circus that shows that dreams can come true

Ethiopia’s Bibi and Bichu have brought an incredible spectacle of circus to the Fringe. The first performance begins with the cast dancing around the stage before breaking into an amazing acrobatics routine where the two boys from the opening are launched through the air, flipping and tumbling and seeming to defy gravity or anatomy. When one of the catches is missed, the audience cheer encouragement to the cast and explode into rapturous applause when the trick lands on a second attempt. It’s a solid first act for a circus show and the audience cheer and clap along to the excellent fusion of traditional music and beats that accompanies the show.

We then get a moment to catch our breath only to have it whipped away from us by an impressive contortion duo which leads into some impressive ball juggling and then a spinning towel routine that somewhat defies description. A perfect little clown piece engages a couple of chaps from the audience before a classic acrobalance act, more juggling and a wonderful four-person routine from the Konjowoch Troupe that incorporates both contortion and acrobalance.

The finale is a high energy Chinese pole routine that seems to include every male in the cast. It’s a spectacular finale to a phenomenal hour of circus that shows that dreams can come true.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

An unashamedly joyful mix of astonishing stunts, astounding circus skills and enchanted adventure, Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams follows the magical journey of two little Ethiopian brothers whose dream of joining the circus is made real by the Man in the Moon. Plunged into a world of daredevil wonders, they encounter a host of other circus dreamers: dancing, contorting, gravity-defying figures, all weaving tales of their own. Featuring the inimitable Konjowoch Troupe, this is a surreal retelling of how the cast dreamed of the circus in a country without one and created a phenomenal new Ethiopian tradition.