December 20 2016
What do you think of when you think of ‘change’? Do you think of the coins in your pocket? Or perhaps a new outfit? How about personal growth? The Zip Zap Circus brings Changes this December through a series of acts that explore the performers’ personal change, while simultaneously looking at a continual change in the South African reality as a necessity for growth. Changes is set to tour a number of countries in 2017 and includes performers who presented at the White House. Through circus techniques, movement and dance, comedy, rhythm and costume, the show aims to express unity, family, fun and passion.
The show is led by an on-stage presenter known as a carpet clown, who mimes and performs between acts. This clever tactic for the changing of scenes distracts the audience who don’t notice the timely technical changes taking place. He opens the show, standing in a spotlight and singing a soulful solo rendition of Shosholoza. The spotlight moves ever so slightly and there is a hint of comedy as he pauses mid song to jump back into the light. The rest of the cast joins him on stage to deliver a choral ending to the song.
We move from act to act, through a spinning hoop, aerial trapeze, ball tricks, tissu ropes, aerial straps, a gumboot dance, group-juggling, flips, acrobatics and synchronized trapeze work. With time, the eccentricity of the show escalates; from juggling clubs flying around the stage to people flying around the stage. The few times when the performers are a little uncoordinated becomes part of the circus charm in an ensemble of organized chaos.
The absolute highlight of the show, in two acts that will give you goosebumps, come from one powerful performer. In his second piece, Roxanne plays while the extraordinarily talented young man moves and dances from ropes in perfect synchronicity.
The shadowplay on the back of the stage gives a special circus effect while the music changes pertinently from act to act. The cast, when acting in unity, wear full workers’ suits but change into burlesque outfits and tight acrobatic suits for the solo performances. In this way the technical production of the show is simple and effective.
It’s rare to see Zip Zap performers slip up, but on this occasion I did see a couple of hiccups. What was impressive though was how quickly they regained their composure. Professional indeed.
The ending was pretty abrupt and as the stage lights came on and the performers took their leave, I was left wanting more; whether that can be faulted is negotiable. The audience was implored to spread the word about the show if they had enjoyed it and I am inclined to oblige.
Changes – Zip Zap Circus runs at the Zip Zap Dome, Cape Town until 23 December 2016.