Zingaro : Calacas

5 out of 5 stars

Mexican ringmaster Zingaro’s delightfully warm and atmospheric theatre in Aubervilliers is a world away from the chilly concrete cityscape outside. The latest show from his ‘equestrian circus’ begins with a tumult of tambour rhythms; two drummers and two ‘chinchineros’ (virtuoso one-man bands from the streets of Chile) are positioned in the four corners of the room. The wooden sides of the ring seem to tremble to their beat – then the lighting focuses on the circular track, revealing skeletons, clucking turkeys and a scene on two levels – a higher piste (representing the sky), host to flying coaches, and a lower one (the earth) where fantastic riders dressed as skeletons (‘calacas’ in Spanish) and skull head-dresses perform their acrobatics. Inspired by the work of artist José Guadalupe Posada, ‘Calacas’ is a whirlwind of galloping horses, swinging acrobats, fat cowboys and games of hide-and-seek. Bartabas’s latest creation is a fiery homage to the underworld – a series of scenes as poetic as they are frenetic, full of darkness and light, moments of calm and of tempestuousness. A masterful, sumptuous spectacle.

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