Urban by Circoloumbia; The first thing that hits you is the sheer size of the troupe and I don’t mean in numbers; some of these men are absolutely massive in stature and you wonder what on earth these towering fellows could do in the way of acrobatics, but as the full troupe busts out into the piazza and these hulking men catch, throw and catapult their team mates, it becomes glaringly obvious what their responsibility is.
This group of performers must have some serious trust in each other and considering they are youngsters (between the ages of 17 and 23) who have found their way off the streets via the Circo Para Todos (circus school); this in itself must be an amazing achievement.
Dubbed “circus of the streets” Urban is the story of the men and women who perform the show and although at times the language barrier makes it slightly difficult to understand the spoken words, it’s not hard to understand the tale that plays out before us, gritty and violent; awesome and thrilling, dangerous and depressing all at once but the very presence and wonderful skill of these young people is certainly the happy end to the tale.
Most of the tricks they use are really simple, with a twist – if you thought skipping rope was for children, watch these guys do double-dutch – but the simple tricks are the most awe inspiring as their strength, energy, precision and daring-do leave your heart in your mouth time and time again. The acrobatic wonder is infused with Latin hip-hop which is easy on the ears; a kind of West Side Story plays out as two rival gangs try to out-trick each other and the audience is treated to 75 minutes of one upmanship with nothing to lose.
Circo Para Todos is a non-profit organisation in Cali Colombia and since 1997 it has used circus schools to reach out to youth-at-risk on the streets of Colombia and Urban, which showcased at the Brisbane festival this year, is their latest world-wide, award-winning, sell-out performance.