Circolombia’s new extravaganza!

Following a sell-out tour with last year’s Roundhouse Circusfest 2010, Circolombia‘s return with Urban saw the circus troupe tantelise their audience with an extravaganza of acrobatics, dance routines and dare-devil stunts.

Though the show was only an hour and a half at most, the time spent gasping in awe, and not to mention sheer fright went as quick as the catapulting somersaults of the youthful performers; all of whom attended the National School Circa Para Todos (“Circus For All”) – one of the first circus schools in the world aimed at disadvantaged youngsters.

Taking its theme from the street-life of Cali, Western Colombia, Wednesday night’s opening show, Urban, begins with a jaw-dropping explosion of acrobatics and flips-galore, bursting with testosterone and forcing the audience to the edge of their seats within seconds. The following feat, a “frontal perch” – performed by Angela Garcis Saez, one of the few female members of the cast, provides a touch of elegance and athletic grace to the male hip-thrusting and swaggering opener. The petite yet powerful prowess poses a range of gravity-defying positions on a circular metal frame, incredibly balanced on muscular Francisco Hurtado’s forehead.

Other acrobatic mayhem includes “the teeterboard” where two larger males jump from a high platform onto the elevated side of a wooden see-saw, sending another dainty youngster into the Roundhouse heavens and falling effortlessly to the ground, albeit with a few extravagant somersaults, of course. Keeping us on sheer tender hooks is the tight-rope scene – two young men performing a range of highly-skilled runs and jumps while fellow cast members run around the stage, dancing and shrugging to the pounding reggaeton and hip-hop soundtrack. What was even more jaw-dropping was the fall of one tight-rope walker who fell very awkwardly indeed, yet carried on with a smile that the audience could respond to only with immense applause.

Letting the show down slightly was the slightly confusing narrative (or was there one at all?), especially when the performers described their experiences of living in the slums of Cali, which seemed muffled in its thick dialect. Also baffling was the sexual politics that seemed to be unconsidered throughout, especially in the finale that comprised of a lot of oddly-placed grinding between the men and the two ethereal females. Putting all this to one side, Circolombia provided an incredible evening, full of tantalising stunts and relentless energy that should definitely not be missed.

Words by Amy Cunningham. Photos by Adam Urban.

To read our interview with the cast of Circolombia and find out their history click HERE.

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April 4th – 16th, 7.30pm (also 2.30pm on 9th & 16th Apr), £5-20
Circolombia: Urban

Roundhouse
Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH
Box Office: 0844 482 8008

roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/productions/circolombia-urban

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