We at The Plus Ones love circus. I’ve been a complete circus aficionada the past few years, hitting up everything from Circus Oz to NICA to Cirque du Soleil. I know me some circus. So it is with great authority that I tell you to hightail it out to Richmond’s Burnley Oval to see Cirque Africa.
Founder Winston Ruddle, aka ‘Papa Africa’, has gathered the best of the best from six countries across Africa. Together, the almost 40 performers put on a delightfully entertaining show. At times my companions and I gasped in horrified delight — and there was even a moment where my friend put a hand over his eye, as if to try to halve the craziness of what he was seeing.
Without the flashy lights and accoutrements of larger circuses, Cirque Africa mostly relies on its members’ physicality. I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with the stupefying contortionists. They looked absolutely inhuman at times, and has us squirming in our seats. My highlights of the night were the father/son combo (at least, if they weren’t related they sure looked it), where the grownup flipped the kid in the air with his feet. Spectacular, and so simple yet so gravity-defying. Another so-simple-so-fun moment was the moving rug, which reminded me of an African version of The Luggage in the Discworld novels. (Any Terry Pratchett fans out there?)
Some of the clowning bits, which involved the audience, could have benefited from a shorter length; and I’d like to have seen a few more offerings in the foyer in terms of food and beverages. But this is exactly the type of circus you imagine roving around in the days of yore — raw, uninhibited, genuine. The performers are having as much fun as the audience.
Do you have a niece or nephew? Take them along and you’ll be the best auntie or uncle ever. And if you want a truly memorable date, give Cirque Africa a try. They’re in Melbourne for a few more weeks before touring the rest of Australia.
The Plus Ones’ co-founder, Theresa loves that her life allows her to go to amazing events and then tell people about them.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of WordStorm PR.