Crossing Waters, The Middle Passage

Brouhaha - One World One Stage
Unity Theatre
27th July 2006

Reviewed by Helen Grey

The third evening in the One World One Stage programme collected performances from around the world that reflected the global stories of human trafficking and the transatlantic slave trade. I did find it a little difficult to find the link between slavery and the first act on stage, Officina Pulcinella Street Theatre Project from Italy. In ‘Waking Dream’, the multi-talented performers tell the story of a man trapped inside a dream in which he is surrounded by a host of colourful characters. Delights included four way club juggling, acrobatics and some nifty Diablo tricks.

Cape VerdeCreating from Portugal followed, with their interpretation of a new kind of Capeverdian music and dance that fuses the contemporary and traditional. This group delighted the audience with movements and melodies that represented the nature and the struggles of the people of the volcanic islands.

After the interval, Kozman TiDalon – who had ventured from the island of Réunion – expertly played a collection of traditional instruments that were accompanied by rich vocal harmonies. Congas, djembes (a type of bongo) and rouleur bass drum were among the array of instruments that created an uplifting but incredibly loud music.

Belmont Freetown Cultural Arts Company – from the sunshine of Trinidad and Tobago – were last to grace the Unity stage. Belmont Freetown was the first settlement of freed slaves in the Caribbean, and so the company performed a traditional slave dance that tells the story of enslavement and eventual freedom. This group had bucket loads of energy and spirit, so much so that I felt quite lazy watching in the auditorium.

This collection of dance and music gave a real taste of music and culture from around the world. My only criticism – and it is very rare for me to have only one – is that I didn’t have any room to join in. If you are able to watch any of the groups on a warm summer evening with a plastic pint glass in your hand, I don’t think you’ll be able to resist swinging your bum just a little.

The event is part of the Brouhaha International Street Festival that runs at venues throughout the city until August 5. For further information visit or pick up a free guide from the Unity.

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