(and a half)
Mother Africa is the circus meets music hall meets Africa. Energetic traditional dance numbers with a few modern twists punctuate the circus-style structure of the show with an impressive live band backing the whole thing. However, it does take the audience a little while to warm to the show due to a misplaced ring master (Mother Africa) performing a lack-lustre introduction that, rather than being met with “hands in the air”, is met with arms folded solidly across chests.
The first dance number melts any tension in the room; as soon as you hear the frantic djembe beat familiar with most African music, all thoughts of the flat punchlines and odd heckles that accompanied Mother Africa disappear. The entire set centres around traditional African instruments spliced with jazz, dance and modern rock, providing the perfect backdrop for a triple unicyclist, mesmerising jugglers and some impressive acrobalance that leave wide eyes and open mouths.
The highlights of the show include a ten year old acrobat performing back flip upon backflip, an impressively creepy double jointed man wriggling into unthinkable positions and a slow song with a steel drum showing off the beautiful variety of vocals from the three traditional African singers.
Overall the show is great fun and I don’t think a single audience member left unimpressed or disappointed. Perhaps if it had gone straight into a musical number or circus act rather than flat pre-amble then the show would have been perfect.
Until 27 August, 14.20
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