Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger: Fiq!

In recent years Christmas entertainment has started to embrace circus, modern circus that is, no clowns as such but on this occasion plenty of humour. And this certainly sets this amazing company apart from some of the more terrifying companies whose acts of daring have at times given me anxiety and stomach aches! Fiq! has both humour and heart, it has a warmth and jollity that is so very attractive, and judging by the attention of the very young audience it worked for them too.

All this said there is no doubt that these are all extremely talented performers, brilliant tumblers and specialists, feats of balance and of strength. In addition they do all this with very few props or devices, a mountain of what look like orange crates, lots of cloths and panels and a DJ.

I was daunted by the presence of the DJ but he very soon won me over with his brilliant live scratching which in itself when coupled with the complexity of their routines was no mean feat. This was clever yet simple stuff and it was all delivered with a smile and few displays of heightened drama or bravado. It had a gentle feel, a sense of street performance and of youth.

But all this was the tip of an iceberg of complex invention. Not only were we engaged in their live presence but at times, smart phones in their hands, we saw live streamed close up action, both on the stage and at one point when members of the company left the stage and tumbled out, down the corridor and into the foyer bar.

The whole was also annotated by projected messages in beautifully written, live, Moroccan characters with translations above the stage. Messages of hope and some of anger and despair at world politics, but the latter never delivered with leaden tones.

This is superb stuff, the right tone, the right length and a show that had the audience on their feet crying for more. In short  TERRI-FIQ!

The event was preceded by local circus school and charity The Circus Project which embraces 10-19 year olds in learning circus skills, a delightful short programme that had me smiling and regretting my time wasted in the cubs and scouts trying to light fires with two sticks, surely this is more fun!

Andrew Kay

18 December

Brighton Dome Concert Hall

Rating: ★★★★★

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