A jubilant gala of African culture, Cirque Mother Africa really does live up to its claim ‘Circus of the Senses’.
Tanzanian director Winston Ruddle has brought together musicians and artists from nine different African nations to offer a spectacular variety show fusing traditional music, singing, dance, and circus acts,
Cirque Mother Africa is a high energy show which had the audience enthralled from start to finish. The joy and energy the performers exuded was infectious. I think I shed a tear during the opening sequence because I was just so damn happy!
There was nothing boring or low-key about this production. When Bizimana Emmanuel Ntavyo sang solo whilst playing the Kora (a traditional African harp encased in a steel drum), the mood was peaceful and reflective, giving just enough breather for the party to come. The high voltage dancing made Zumba look like a walk in the park. Even the vigorous drumming was a gym work out; I was exhausted just watching.
There were many highlights including two strongmen whose human balancing act was astounding, especially when one balanced the other on his head. Another balancing duo, this time with a small boy being flipped and twirled in the air, was terrifyingly spell-binding.
Perhaps the most memorable act of the night was Ersie Teame Gebregziabher, publicised as the greatest contortionist on the planet. What he can do with his body would seem to be physically impossible. Part-human, part-slinky, this unique performer elicited gasps and shrieks of cringe-worthy disbelief and wonder. During his act I heard such comments as “No way!”, “Unbelievable”, “That’s incredible”.
The performers wore vibrant African influenced costumes in bold, colourful prints. The lively band, with its driving rhythms and beats, included brass, keyboard, guitar, and a host of various western and traditional African drums. Set among huge cut-out wildlife, it was great to see the band onstage as part of the festivities. Adding to the visual spectacular, a large projected screen on the back wall displayed African wildlife, faces, and places. Even the theatre wings were leopard and zebra printed drapes.
Cirque Mother Africa is a joyous celebration of African culture and is highly recommended for a feel-good night of family entertainment.