Underbelly and Circolombia
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows
I’ve seen a number of circus performances over the years—and a number at the Fringe. A previous South American troupe from Brazil was a highlight of my stay one year and that was in the Assembly Hall and not in a proper circus tent.
Circolombia is set in the Big Top on the Meadows and so I had high hopes. But I must admit to coming away disappointed.
With the demise of animals as part of the circus performance and the rise of myriad talent shows throughout the world, there are a plethora of very skilled performers out there. You have to be on the top of your game to produce a credible circus show these days. Circolumbia promised much but in the end felt a bit half-baked, unfinished and cobbled together.
For a start, there is enthusiasm but no panache and sparkle. The performers enter the ring in street clothes looking a bit like those tumblers you have to experience in Morocco or Egypt while you’re trying to eat your meal in a restaurant. And although they are skilled—they cn tumble and spin in the air etc—there is nothing really that you couldn’t see on any decent talent show or from any decent dance troupe.
There are a couple of 'wow' points: a pair who do aerial work, first as he is held by his neck as she spins and performs around him and then as they lift each other with a strap between their teeth. And a girl on a high rope is quite impressive. But the whole show feels bitty, too loosely structured and certainly lacking in spectacle or showmanship.
There are plenty more circus shows available this year at the Fringe—I would give this one a miss.
Reviewer: Suzanne Hawkes