Theatre review: Circolombia’s Acelere at the Roundhouse


circolombia - Credit: Archant

The raw energy of this circus show can’t help but thrill, says Bridget Galton.

It’s not the undoubted skill of this troupe of performers that you take away from Circolombia’s hour-long show, but the raw energy and emotion so often lacking in more polished contemporary circus.

All graduates at Circo Para Todos, a circus school set up by Brit Felicity Simpson to offer professional training for kids at risk of succumbing to gang and drug problems in their native Colombia, they pull off a winning blend of live music, dance, performance art, and gravity-defying acrobatics.

There are moments of beauty and wonder; a man falls into blackness from a high platform; a woman dangles by a neckstrap gripped in the teeth of a fellow performer suspended high above the Roundhouse stage and a trio of acrobats dangle from suspended searchlights.

Near the end, a girl on a swing performs heart-stopping feats while breathlessly telling us she’s afraid to take risks.

Even the moments when they fail to pull off a tumble, or step off the giant see-saw after a somersault, increase the urgent sense of jeopardy that they might not recover in time for the downward bounce.

In truth this set-less show could use a more coherent narrative, more consistent visual flourishes, and greater accuracy in the dance-theatre movement set pieces.

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I can’t say its theme, of the hectic pace of modern life, made landfall either.

But what it lacks in polish it gains in exuberance, not least from the stirring live vocals and rapping, and the heartfelt commitment of this exciting troupe.

Until May 3.

Bridget Galton