Review: As A Tiger In The Jungle @ WMC

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Cirkus Xanti & Ali Williams Productions – As A Tiger In The Jungle
Western Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Tuesday 24th October 2017

Since I frequently haunt cafes in Cardiff, I’ve seen a lot of posters and promotional material. How enticing the poster for As A Tiger In The Jungle is. When I heard about this circus piece dealing with human trafficking, slavery and torture, I knew this was going to be a heavy show, indeed.

The most remarkable aspect about this show is that the real life stories are actually of the performers themselves: The Tamang Twins are from Nepal and Loan TP Hoang descends from Vietnam, now living in Norway. Their stories are shocking and incredibly sad, to be abducted and forced to join the circus must be a very hard pill. Yet, even thought they have gone through all this, circus is their trade. It’s what has made them and defined them. There is no whiff of Stockholm Syndrome here.

The Tiger in questions takes many forms as well: an expression for human traffickers, the real beast who one day ate a child as the tamer/children watched or even through Blake’s striking verse. The mother who gave up her life has always been with the twins and the plight of being slaves have emboldened them in their craft. There are some beautiful moments of aerial tableaux, with scenes on ground including the classic dragon march, leaps, flips and other impressive feats. At other times, their frustration of their plight is evident with episodes of anger or recoil, other forms of expression for them.

It’s a rare occurrence when you want a show to go on for longer. I craved more of their stories. When where they freed? What happened next? The pieces does justified the wounds caused by the enslavement. The story at times is slight, as can happen with circus work, yet you fall into the pieces easily and go along with the structure, even if a bit fragmentary.

These three performers are truly inspiring and should be regarded as such.

Heartfelt & gripping.

Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Cover Image: As A Tiger In The Jungle’s Facebook Page


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