Afrique en Cirque {Adelaide Fringe} – Theatre Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Over the past few years Gluttony has become one of my favourite little villages of the arts at Adelaide Fringe with its diverse range of theatre, music, comedy and circus acts. Presented in ‘The Flamingo’ tent, Afrique en Cirque made its South Australian debut.

The stage is set to transport you to an African village with two hut-like structures to the sides, fishing nets draped in the back and drums adorning the stage. The huts form the home for the musicians, a drummer, bassist and saxophone who deliver a thumping Afro-Jazz soundtrack for the entire show. I loved this little touch as the bassist would observe and play along with the performers, making for a dynamic and captivating musical backdrop for the show. I even found myself listening to some of this style music following seeing the production as I just loved the buzz it delivers!

This show is wall to wall of high energy, it just doesn’t stop! Seven incredibly fit and agile performers stun the crowd with various circus acts that portray regular village life, like construction around town and fishing for food in incredible fashion.

A range of talents are exhibited including dance, juggling, performative drumming, acrobatics and quite possibly the most shocking yet amazing contortionist performance I have ever experienced! The young man, Mohamed Ben Sylla, had the Adelaide audience in awe as he folded himself into many unimaginable positions. There were multiple audible gasps throughout his act with some wincing but I found it to be an absolutely fascinating showcase of incredible talent.

Afrique en Cirque is the brainchild of Yamoussa Bangoura who started the performance company back in 2007, known as Kalabanté Productions. Yamoussa is also a performer in the show with a hugely impressive resume of disciplines including dance, juggling, roue cyr, chant and the kora. Yamoussa is a powerful presence on stage as he guides us through his life in Guinea and I was thoroughly impressed by his playing of the Kora, a 21 stringed instrument which he played so beautifully and effortlessly. Combined with his chant singing with the band and the other performers drumming, it is a wall of sound that will blow your wig off!

To top it all off, the costumes, bright, fun and colourful, were reminiscent of both traditional and modern African garb. Flowing fabrics, repurposed fish nets and skintight leotards, these were wonderfully creative and added another great level of detail to this stunning show.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I was enamoured by Afrique en Cirque and would absolutely recommend it to everyone. It is amazing to see the African culture interpreted through dance and the performers of this phenomenal production delivered with so much passion and looked like they had a ball doing so! Their smiles were infectious and the Adelaide audience of the show that I attended all left beaming. My feet were even tapping throughout the whole performance. In all honesty, if I get the chance to, I will go see them again. Afrique en Cirque is just that good!

Afrique en Cirque is at Adelaide Fringe 2024 from February 15 to 25 only.
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Photography supplied.

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