|German Press||Swedish Press|
|French Press||Dutch Press|
|Tour Press||English Press|
|1998 World Tour Press||The Advertiser (3 March, 1998) Adelaide, Australia|
|Sunday Mail (8 March, 1998) Adelaide, Australia|
|ABC (9 March, 1998) Adelaide, Australia (l'article n'est plus disponible sur le site du journal)|
|RealTime@ Telstra Adelaide Festival|
|The Sunday Morning Herald (28 March, 1998)|
|Ouest France (Brest, le 24 avril 1998), France|
|Le télégramme (les 25 et 27/04/98), France|
|The Independent (25 May, 1998), United Kingdom|
|The Irish Times (26 Sept, 1998), Dublin, Ireland|
|Wow, Watch this! (5 May, 1998), UK|
This troupe was developed from nothing but has flourished into a tight team which exudes a sheer love of performing. And can they perform! Human pyramids are their specialty - each one more exciting and gravity-defying than the last. And while they twist themselves around about and inside out never does it err on the side of a "freak show" as many human circuses can.
There are many lovely narratives running through the performance and the youngest gentlemen of the troupe keeps the audience on its feet with his wicked antics. There is an abundance of humor throughout - from the man who undresses himself on a tightrope to the jugglers having enormous fun trying to outdo each other.
Upside down, in the dark, using both hands and feet while bent backwards, they can juggle any which way. They pull members of the audience on the stage and before they know it they are part of a pyramid themselves. And don't the kids just love watching their parents make fools of themselves.
This is a finely crafted show. The stunts are well executed and there is a good pace through it. The music is also vibrant and thoroughly entertaining.
The group knows that our idea of
Ethiopia have been shaped by images of war and starvation. Upon watching
this troupe these images start to fade. They don't want us to feel sorry
for them, They want us to feel exhilarated by them. Its not hard.
Her Majesty's Theatre, February 28
Sophie liked all the other kids in the audience and was particularly impressed with the equal split between girls and boys in the circus. She was less impressed with the large man who sat in front of her just before the show began.
Was it a rock concert with dance, acrobatics and juggling--or the other way around? It was certainly skillful but definitely not slick. More of a street sense about it. A few rough edges, mistakes, things dropped, a fall, a trip, but easily retrieved through a smile and enthusiasm. These all added to the feeling of participation by the audience, although when "volunteers" were co-opted, Sophie and I clung to each other to avoid being snatched.
"Are the kids forced to do it?" asked Sophie, wriggling and slumping in a theatre seat not designed for kids. I was worried. Media stereotypes of underprivileged and oppressed Africans passed through my mind. Just what had she been watching on TV? Perhaps school was to blame? "Why do you ask?" "They are all working so hard!", was her casual reply as she eyed the youngest members who seemed around her age. "I think they enjoy it. Wouldn't you like to do it?" Sophie was unsure about that level of discipline. Fair enough. "I expect they don't go to school. They wouldn't have time." "I think they do some of it at school."
My five-year-old son was waiting outside and grabbed us as we appeared after the show. "Did anyone dress up as animals?" "No! Of course not," said Sophie impatiently. "But it was really good. Really fantastic."
The Irish Times
Wow! WATCH THIS!
(in reference to The Lowdown TV documentary on Circus Ethiopia aired May 5, 1998 on BBC1)
Tony Morrissey (posted on Usenet May 5, 1998)
I saw Circus Ethiopia last summer (97) at WOMAD, Reading. It was one of the most compulsive, exciting and inspiring things I've seen. It's hard to say why, but knowing that these kids put together a highly professional show in a tiny African circus village and resurrected their whole lives' possibilities was part of it. At the end practically the whole audience was shedding tears of joy - I'm not kidding, it was extraordinary.
The kids range from tiny to late teens, and present a unique combination of western skills with home made props, plus a large amount of very high level acrobatics. I was prepared to be generous and watch a deprived group of kids do some half-baked skills cobbled together into a slightly embarrassing show. Far from it - the skills range from good to incredible, and the show is uniquely African, with lots of narrative scenes, dancing, music, adventure, and audience participation. And they smile! They grin the whole time with such joy, generosity, ebullience - you can't help love them.
And a funny thing happened. I was
sitting with at least 5000 other people watching the outdoor show, some
way back. Suddenly 3 Ethiopian kids swarmed down off the stage and into
the audience. Aha, volunteer-fetching! I thought, and carefully looked
away. A teenager picked his way all through the crowd, and I knew he was
looking at me, and his hand came down on my shoulder. I was very determinedly
taken onstage. I was requested (in mime of course, speaking no Ethiopian)
to follow a few actions in a fun scene which was set up to play tricks
on me and the other 2 volunteers.
So did this guy who picked me know that out of all those thousands I was an acrobat used to basing such balances?
Anyway, watch the programme for some inspiration, and see the live show if you possibly can.