Mother Africa

Assembly Hall

From 07 August 2012 to 27 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Alison Burns

Mother Africa is Assembly Theatre’s big, family-friendly afternoon show for the Fringe festival 2012. The drums beat, the dancers dance, acrobats contort, and most importantly, the audience has a great time.

This is a dance and physical theatre piece so there’s nothing in terms of a story-line. Instead, the audience is wowed by various displays of nail-biting circus acts and lively dance routines.

One of the best things about this show is the band. Throughout all the dancing, costumes and incredible bodily feats the drums fill the large venue with uplifting beats, creating a fantastic atmosphere. The dancing is good and the circus acts are certainly entertaining, yet there’s one man in particular who steals the limelight. He takes to the stage in a onzie covered in blue swirls. He is a contortionist and proceeds to sit and stand on his own head, walk his feet around his body and squeeze himself through a small hoop. He is a human waterfall and it is difficult to tell when looking through the gaps in your fingers which limbs are his arms, and which are his legs.

There’s also a particularly interesting dance piece which involves yellow hard hats and wellington boots. This act certainly knows how to dress for the Edinburgh weather.

The audience has to put in a bit of work in this show too. Volunteers take to the stage to attempt some African drumming alongside the performers. It’s really not as easy as it looks! And of course, no circus would be complete without a clown. This particular clown played the best practical joke of the festival so far.

This show really does entertain all ages. There’s something to thrill everyone and the performers have the audience hiding behind their hands, clapping, cheering and best of all, smiling.