Review: As A Tiger In The Jungle

Review: As A Tiger In The Jungle

As A Tiger In The Jungle 

Cirkus Xanti & Ali Williams Productions

Director: Sverre Waage – Cirkus Xanti

Creative Producer: Ali Williams Productions (nofitstate)

Cast: Renu Ghalan Tamang (Nepal), Aman Tamang (Nepel), Loan TP Hoang (Vietnam)

Music: Per Zanussi

23rd September 2017

Birmingham Reparatory Theatre

Review produced by: Tamar Dixon – Unique Tay

As A Tiger In Jungle

An authentic and heart-warming contemporary circus, of three Asian performers sharing their real-life traumatic childhood experiences, through movement, circus and spoken word. As A Tiger In The Jungle brings awareness to child slavery and abuse of the deep truths of children forced into traditional Indian circus.

Producer Ali spent a year in 2013 working with Circus Kathmandu’s rescued young men and women (from child slavery) as a Creative Director. Ali invited Sverre to collaborate their creative skills in developing a healthy circus environment. With the aim to build relationships for the rescued performers, Ali and Sverre were keen to provide an opportunity to tell the stories of child slavery and torture through circus performance internationally. As A Tiger In The Jungle, combines a mixture of dance movement and spoken word, articulating the need for love and life. As a result of this moving production, As A Tiger In The Jungle, captures the childhood lives of twin brother and sister Renu and Aman, as they were stripped from their mother, who sacrificed her life for her beloved children. Along with the twins, Vietnamese Loan tells her troubled life, as she lost her parents at the tender age of 5 when they fled from Vietnam.


The opening of the performance begins where Loan is curled up, in what appears to be a cage. The setting is gloomy, dark and represents the poor living conditions the children lived and rehearsed in. Tucked away in the far right corner is a bamboo hut where the beaten children hid away when they were punished for mistakes during training and/or performances.

Loan struggled desperately as she reaches her arms out seeking for freedom. As she finally grabbed the chance to step out of the cage, Loan looks confused and giving a strong frightened impression, as she shows off her sharp animalistic movements, twitching her head, neck, arms and elbows. Loan began to speak informing the audience about her dark past, losing her parents. As she went on to physically twitch, later she introduced the twins. This is when the thrilling awakening from the audience began, realising that this performance was yet to be a raw surprise, as all sat in silence.


As all three performers showcased their traditional circus skills and dance moves, the performers facial expressions outweighs their circus skills in terms of audience engagement. Their facial and bodily expression, truly enables the audience to empathize with their feelings and current mental state, as all performers had no light in their eyes. This felt true and emotional.

Who do I belong to?

As twins Renu and Aman describe their despair, pain and loss of identity, Renu draws scraggly lines, around her belly button. Very unusual and out of the ordinary to show as a piece of art. However she beautifully describes her belly button as her mother’s life and soul, who she lost. The lines signified branches from a tree, like a family tree, she is desperate to search.

The dialogue throughout was predominately spoken first in Nepali native language (apologies if I am wrong) and then translated to English, which was greatly appreciated.

Aman’s character didn’t quite come across as mature as his sister Renu, but instead a playful young boy, who still attempts to live his lost childhood he wished he had. He shows his own way of coping with trauma and loss, by being silly and trying to gain his sister’s attention. He lifts up Renu, jumps, jogs and summersaults around her as though he tries to cheer her up. Or maybe this is his way of erasing his memories of abuse? Although, Aman distresses his feelings by wrapping his arm around the Ariel ropes,  using all his strengths to lift him-self higher and higher, portraying his frustration. But was this an attempt to end his own life….?

A matter of creativity. 

Overall As A Tiger In The Jungle has shown the beauty and flexibility of the world of art culture. Ali and Sverre have collectively applied their creative devices and transformed true stories of tortured children into a spectacular inspiring performance. I decided to review As a Tiger In The Jungle because the narrative sounded intriguing and inspiring. I took the opportunity to be engaged in yet another artist creation of work. It came to my surprise that I’d be taken on a journey, learning about someone else’s life so far away from mine. I truly appreciate the visit to Birmingham REP Theatre and opportunity to share my inner thoughts for As A Tiger In The Jungle. I recommend you to watch this circus production, if it visits your town.

If you like my review please feel free to share across your networks to whom you feel would also like.

Feedback and comments are welcome.


Unique Tay

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