Circolombia: Acelere

The re-invention of circus and growth of circus arts has provided recent years with some simply stunning entertainments. Before the main event at Brighton’s Dome Concert Hall we were treated to some young students of those arts and what they showed was impressive, real skills and that sense of excitement that one hopes to get from this genre. Hats off to them they are very good.

After a short break out came the troupe from South America, a casually dressed gang of men and women who displayed an air of threat, a tense energy that exploded when a lone figure, standing high on the balcony where it reached the edge of the stage, simply fell, rigid, forward into the dark. It was a stunning and heart-stopping opening to a show that contained powerful acts of daring and strength. That initial sense of threat was soon converted into a joyous energy, the key factor in the entire show. Or should I say one of the key factors, the other being the presence of two striking female vocalists who stalked the stage for most of the performance time displaying not only their singing skills but also their ability to rouse the audiences spirits, it was a clever technique which for me dissipated the nervous tension that I can often experience when watching people perform dangerous acrobatic acts.

The stage was remarkably bare, very few props and those that did appear were simple, but with those few props they managed to startle and amaze. The relationships between the cast was tender and joyous too, moments of balletic intimacy balanced by displays of unity and power. The music, recorded apart from the vocals, was excellent, a times gentle and at other times strident.

The feats grew in stature, the cast encouraging each other to seemingly go further, higher, scarier… and it worked brilliantly. The highlight of the show coming late in the second half when one of the female performers was lifted onto a swag of rope and proceeded to swing out above the stalls whilst performing extraordinary twists and turns and at the same time talking to the crowd below. In a final gesture she exclaimed “Would you Like to fly with me?” and as she did so she leapt from her swing into the dark. It was stunning, breathtaking and beautiful.

Circolombia do something both vibrant and elegant and the audience, young and old lapped it up.

Andrew Kay

Brighton Dome Concert Hall

18 December


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