REVIEW: Circolombia’s show URBAN at the New Victory (through Oct 21)

Photo by Yan ForhanAs I mentioned in my last post, we saw CirColombia’s Urban at the New Victory. It’s a circus made up  entirely of graduates of Circos Par Todos, Colombia’s National Circus  School and a program for kids in the toughest barrio’s and favelas of  Colombia. The idea is to get kids out of the ghettos using the power of circus. Wonderful concept, and it looks like it’s working, and being implemented in other countries.

Overall the show was very entertaining. Their musculature and tricks are great, and there is a gritty “street smart” urbanism to the show. These kids come off as street kids.  It’s as if those Kenyan or Trinidadian acrobats who perform in Washington Square Park were given license to create an actual show with music and lights and songs and a plot and everything.

While the acrobatics and circus stuff are all great, the writing and the acting and the music is less so. There’s a fair amount of rap/style posturing, not enough comedy, a little of sameness of pace, and I’m  not sure the WHOLE SHOW hangs together, but the acts are beautiful and it is great to see these kids creating a show. Yeah, it’s not  the show  that I  (gringo college educated clown in his 40’s) would have wanted them to create (Go Figure), but it was pretty good.

Circolombia- one of the actors applying talcThat’s not to say that all of the acting is bad. The most moving part  for me is a song/poem that one of the kids comes out and  tells/sings about money (its in Spanish with English subtitles), and how having too little is a problem, and having more than you need can also be a problem. Very moving and personal.  It did not have any posturing, and the actor was really trying to reach out and communicate in an honest, open, and vulnerable way. If the show had a little more of that, I would have been happier.

The whole show starts off  with a kind of slowish beautiful number that looks like it could have been either in Cirque du Soleil or parodying Cirque, and then kind of explodes into action.  I kind of wished it had exploded into action first and then gone all beautiful and delicate.

The teeter board  acrobatics are INCREDIBLE, and are alone worth the price of admission. These guys are going up 15/20 feet in the air.

It’s at the New Victory now through October 21.

Go here for tickets and more info: http://www.newvictory.org/Show-Detail.aspx?ProductionId=4075

Here’s the promo video:

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