Providing a frequently gasp inducing evening of entertainment, Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams perfect for any and all. Although it does follow a simple story throughout, the skill and showmanship in the acts themselves would be enjoyable even in isolation. Without being in the typical 'stripy tent' setting, it is a definitive example of a circus show, and one I would be delighted to revisit.
Left the audience in a unanimous standing ovation
The largest group of performers are of dexterous acrobats who somersault, tumble and skip their way through a series of gravity defying stunts. They never lose the combination of pride, zeal and focus which makes their contribution so thrilling. Their dynamic choreography, at times verging on dance, sees the performers move with the remarkable fluidity and harmony that only immense practice can create, yet they still retain a magnetic individuality and spontaneity. I worried their rapid activity would soon wear out its own novelty by exhausting the audience’s attention, but found this concern was anticipated – the heart-pumping sequences from the acrobats are contrasted by a variety of interludes.
The first of these is a foursome of enchanting, although somewhat eerie, contortionists, sinuously moving from one seemingly impossible position to another. They conclude with several astonishing towers in which it is unclear where one person ends and the next begins, and create an inescapably impressive demonstration of flexibility and strength.
The second is a pair of exuberant jugglers who contribute some genuine and unexpected comedy to the production. Admittedly, they did drop the occasional pin, but this really only served to prove the difficulty of their accomplishments. It was quickly forgiven by an audience enjoying their goofy frolics and whirling visuals.
The infectious energy and palpable enjoyment of all these parties put together left the audience in a unanimous standing ovation, wishing that the jam-packed hour hadn’t come to an end. I left the atmospheric venue nursing my hands; I, like many others, had been clapping so often and enthusiastically that I had been left with a corresponding red mark on each. If that doesn’t sound like an audience that everyone wants to be a part of, then I don’t know what is.
It’s the kind of outing to which you can take your parents, your kids, your friends; the kind of timeless, uncomplicated entertainment which is well worth a visit.