Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams @ Underbelly, 25/04/2018; a review.

I must confess, I've come in and out of London so many times over the years, and seen the enormous purple Underbelly as I've gone through Waterloo and across the bridge into Charing Cross...but I've never, ever actually been to the festival.

Well, I can tick that box now. I went to see Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams in The Belly theatre yesterday evening, and all I can say is...WHAT!??

'Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams was inspired by our story, and tells the tale of two little Ethiopian brothers (Little Bibi and Little Bichu), whose dream of joining the circus is made real by the Man in the Moon.
The adventure truly begins when the brothers realise their dream is a shared one: their journey is joined by a host of high-flying, contorting figures, some enchanting, others menacing – and at least one ridiculous! – but all of them circus dreamers, whose feats of acrobatic daring call up a world of rushing adventure that awakens the possibility of a bona-fide Ethiopian circus!
The show delves into the rhythms and roots of Ethiopia's rich musical and artistic traditions to weave its story through death-defying tricks, and feats of juggling, clowning and contortion, all performed to the irresistible beats of Ethiopian song.'


This show is honestly something else. From contortionists to jugglers to tightrope walkers (kind of), it had everything you could want from a circus, and was just the right level of... brilliantly, insanely, wonderfully, worryingly shocking. 

My personal favourite would have to be the men juggling brightly coloured bats. I was so transfixed on them the whole time; trying to work out if they were really spinning and throwing and balancing every bat, because it seemed impossible. Oh, but then I have to admit I was absolutely entranced by the contortionists, twisting and turning every which way. When the group of four flexible women got together and formed actual shapes as a group, climbing onto each other's backs and bellies and balancing their own bums on the backs of their heads...I mean, how!!??! 

That was what Dez and I were shouting into our hands, the whole way through: 'HOW!?', often followed by 'WHAT!?', 'Noooo!!', and 'oh god ohhh goddd'.
The way the company played with the audience was excellent; several times throughout we were made to feel we were seeing the best trick, reaching the climax and getting the biggest shocks possible...and then they'd do something even bigger and better!? 


What we actually loved most about the show, and were talking about for a while after exiting The Belly, was how much the performers seemed to enjoy themselves. Honestly, they were grinning and giggling the whole way through, even when we thought maybe it would be best if they were more serious (i.e. when they set up gigantic poles to climb and then drop down at an alarming speed). The happy vibes we, the audience, could feel coming at us from this more than competent and brilliantly confident company throughout added to the overall spectacle and made this show what it is: absolutely amazing. 

This show is phenomenal –
and at the Underbelly until the 20th of May!

Get your tickets now, just £15 at From the Box Office!


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