This is not your run-of-the-mill circus. With a live afro-funk-jazz band as their soundtrack, performers leap atop each other, others contort to a score which, with a little fleshing out, would happily stand on its own as a live performance. Musicians weave their way around action that consists as much of dance and song as it does mind-blowing acrobatics.
Afrique en Cirque is a story piece, so do not expect straight-up trick after trick. The show is broken up by scenes depicting Guinean history and culture – a day at the market, fishing, and unfortunately but necessary to depict as a nod to historical accuracy, the slave trade. These well-acted scenes served to keep the audience enrapt for what might follow.
A wee note for parents with small children; the show is suitable for people of all ages but it is a very loud, lively circus and little ears should avoid being too close to the front. Seating is self-allocated on arrival so you should have no issue here.
This show is so colourful, joyous, alive, and funny, that the hour passes very quickly. Without spoiling it too much, be prepared to continuously lift your jaw from your lap when the hoop artist and the big, strong builders take to the stage; the human pyramid is truly something to behold.
My personal favourite was the contortionist – I watched much of his performance through my fingers. I can barely do downward-facing dog nevermind put my head through my legs and lift my arms up straight behind me to wave hello.
If you’re in the market for an easy, toe-tapping show full of gasps and energy, Afrique en Cirque is a great way to spend an hour just off the Royal Mile.