‘Lean back, close your eyes and forget your daily routine’ -Winston Ruddle
Deciding to watch a play in the heart of Manhattan a few days shy of New Years Eve, was probably a bad judgement on my part, but being at the New Victory Theater and witnessing one of the most entertaining shows that I’ve seen in a long while, made me forget about the woes I experienced trying to make the 7pm show.
Circus Der Sinne’s Mother Africa was more than your typical broadway show; It was a fun filled celebration of circus acts, traditional dance, live Afrobeat music and much much more.
The foot juggler (Sewasew Alemu Truneh from Ethiopia), and the balancing chair act (Yusuphu Ramadhani Fuko from Tanzania), had every member of the audience captivated and at the edge of our seats. Hula hooper Merherete Yeshewamebrat Kassa, wowed us by twirling several hoops at a time to soca classic ‘hot hot hot’ and we were treated to contortionist Esri Teame Gebregziabher who managed to manipulate his body to resemble an arachnid.
The show was suitable for everybody young and old (The minimum age suggestion was 5). The star of the night had to be 12 year old Ethiopian performer Tomas Teka Alemu, who was willingly foot-tossed in the air by Tamrat Yemane Ayalew while doing consecutive backflips in the air. The pair even broke a world record by completing 34 backflips on the night.
The Mother Africa cast of 26, are an outstanding mishmash of groundbreaking performers (from Tanzania, Benin, Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe), who have all trained at the Artist’ College in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. The college was founded in 2005 by director Winston Ruddle, who invested all his savings to turn a run-down hotel in Tanzania into a circus college that has since trained over 150 performers; some of which have escaped from poverty to create better career prospects for themselves.
Mother Africa runs through to Jan. 5 2014 at the New Victory Theater. For more information, visit newvictory.org or contact 646-223-3010.
Review for Akatasia.com