It’s been 250 years since the very first circus was started by Philip Astley on Southbank and since then it’s become a worldwide phenomenon. From Cirque du Soleil to Zippos, there are hundreds of different companies, each with their own style. But when you think of a circus, most people will conjure up images of huge tents, glittery costumes and high-end production value. I’ve found that the magic of circus can get lost in all of this and it’s easy to forget about the real skills that are at work.
For this very reason, Circus Abyssinia is such a breath of fresh air! With no set and bright but simple Ethopian costume, the skills they possess are laid bare; there is nowhere to hide and no way to embellish with any over the top showmanship.
But why would you need to when the acts are this good! Following the story of Circus Abyssinia’s origins, Bibi and Bichu (played by the adorable little daredevils Ezra and Alemayehu) are two young brothers who dream of joining the circus and embark on an incredible adventure to realise their dream.
The entire cast are just astounding, with mind-bending performances by the contortionists and heart-stopping stunts by the acrobats, all of which are elevated by their irresistible smiles and a gorgeous Ethopian soundtrack that had us all dancing in our seats! However, the cherry on top really had to be the clown who had everyone in stitches… I would pay to see a full hour of that man!
What an incredible joy to watch Ethiopia’s first ever circus just metres from where Astley drew out the very first circus ring 250 years ago. Don’t miss it! Circus Absyssinia runs at the Underbelly festival until 20 May.