Shows you have to see at this weekend's Freedom Festival in Hull

Humans by Circa Picture: Tom Arran
Humans by Circa Picture: Tom Arran
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As this year's family friendly arts festival in Hull hots up - there are some must-see shows.

Taking centrepiece is Humans by Circa in the Big Top in Queen's Gardens (Friday (August 30) 7pm, Saturday 7pm and Sunday 7pm)

Humans by Circa Picture: Tom Arran

Humans by Circa Picture: Tom Arran

Take your pick of overused cliches - contemporary circus company Circa fits them all. The 10 acrobats take the audience on a rollercoaster ride through what it means to be a human.

Mainly how amazing humans can be - their strength, dynamism and stamina - not missing out on bravery.

They use their bodies in totally unexpected ways, tossing each other about with abandon to a stirring soundtrack and making jawdropping moves attached by one hand to a rope.

There are sharp intakes of breath at some extremely dangerous looking moves.

Humans by Circa Picture: Tom Arran

Humans by Circa Picture: Tom Arran

But there's also a lot of wit in the performance: the one thing these remarkable athletes can't do - as the audience finds out - is lick their elbows.

A complete contrast is Circus Ronaldo - full of pratfalls, accidents and things falling far short of perfection.

"Rather like my life" muttered one member of the audience.

From the outset Danny Ronaldo has the audience in the palm of his hand - he spends the first 10 minutes trying to chuck everyone out and some people almost believe him.

Circus Ronaldo Picture: Tom Arran

Circus Ronaldo Picture: Tom Arran

Won over before the performance begins, it is impossible not to sympathise - and not to laugh at - this sad-looking creature, with his long lugubrious face, surrounded by the graves of his beloved family of circus artistes.

Without a word of English, with bits of Spanish and Italian chucked in - 'Non e comico' he pleads continually, getting another laugh - it's all done in eloquent mime and gestures.

His wobbly tightrope act in a ballerina skirt is one highlight - and his pet rat is an absolute star. (Friday 5.30pm, Saturday, 2.30pm and Sunday 2.30pm)

The festival ramps up tonight as French street artists Générik Vapeur burst onto the streets of Hull with their "loud and punky" performance of Bivouac.

Circus Ronaldo Picture: Tom Arran

Circus Ronaldo Picture: Tom Arran

We're told to expect a "pyrotechnic extranvaganza".

Other ticketed shows to mention are: UduL by Los Galindos (Friday 4pm, Saturday 1pm, Sunday 1pm and 4pm) is "unique visceral circus performance full of understanding and misunderstanding".

Meanwhile "kitsch, camp and hilarious" Un Poyo Rojo fuses acrobatics, dance and physical performance (Friday, 9pm, Saturday 9pm)

East (Sunday 7:30pm - 9pm) is a collection of musical and poetical works from the East of England by Martin and Eliza Carthy, shown in the impressive surroundings of Hull Minster.

However there is much more that is free - with wierd and wonderful street performances and pop up installations and international carnival on Sunday - with bands from Freetown and the Rio samba master himself.

And Saturday night's Natty Bo and The Top Cats in Zebedees Yard promises "non-stop dancing and a whole load of wild energy and soul power".