The idea behind Circus Abyssinia has lovely potential: on a darkened stage enter Bibi and Bichu, two brothers growing up in Ethiopia who dream of joining the circus. Unfortunately, this is about as much of the storyline that makes sense. The routines, however captivating, do not follow a clear trajectory and the spoken word is unamplified.
Redemptively, the cast appear on stage clad in traditional, colourful fabrics, beaming smiles and a soundtrack replete with infectiously joyful beats. Raw energy and dynamism flow from the male performers, especially in their acrobatic and Chinese pole routines and the poised, impossibly gelatinous movements of the female floorwork resemble something reptilian.
In essence, Circus Abyssinia are very entertaining, but at times the group choreography lacks synchronicity, strength and technical excellence. Endearingly, they work to disguise any fumbles and chorus each other on despite them. Ethiopian Dreams has all the makings of a great production that has not quite arrived.