Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: Foté Foré, London Roundhouse

Review: Foté Foré, London Roundhouse

Published in Time Out, 30.03.2012

Footballers are forged on the streets of Brazil; entrepreneurs in London’s East End, and acrobats on the beaches of Guinea in West Africa. All share the same individual flare.

Three years after forming, Cirque Mandingue have already toured the world with their first show, Foté Foré (Black White), which now opens this year’s CircusFest. It is old-school display team circus without the theatrical metaphor that has elevated the artform in recent years.

However, their feats are made doubly impressive by sheer force of passion and showboating gusto. Other troupes manoeuvre themselves into daring positions inch by inch. Mandingue just dive in. Human houses of cards spring up in seconds. They attack a makeshift Chinese pole, each trying to outdo the last. In Abdoulaye Keita, it has the best contortionist I’ve ever seen. He comes close to making a Möbius strip of his spine.

However, quieter and comic sections can’t compete with these explosions. Régis Truchy’s bodypopping tourist character, all OTT gurns, is a clunky device that gives the show a hint of tourist board promotion.

Beforehand, downstairs, there’s a 20-minute amuse bouche from tech-specialists Il Pixel Rosso. The Great Spavaldos uses virtual reality to transform you into a trapeze artist. Though it’s scruffy and often out of sync, it’s a dizzying little spin.

Photograph: Milan Szypura

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