I’ve really enjoyed 2012 as a great year for Circus performance. CircusFest at the Roundhouse gave us excellent performances from Cirkus Cirkör and Cirque Mandingue. Professor Vanessa’s Wondershow was also great bar the fact that there was too much going on and long queues making it impossible to see all of the thrilling sights of the original vintage sideshow booths (Many of them from the 1930s – 1950s) and the acts in the centre of the ring – which sometimes happened simultaneously. This caused a great deal of disappointment, leaving you feeling as if you hadn’t quite seen the full show even though everything was just a few short steps away… I’m still lamenting the fact that I never got to see Electra, the 27,000 volt girl!
I was lucky enough to attend Piccadilly Circus Circus which was pretty much announced only a day before it happened. It was part of the ‘Surprises’ programme that was being presented by the Mayor of London as part of the London 2012 Olympic Festival. The day consisted of 143 performances of 48 different acts by 33 companies which took place across 15 spaces on the streets of and surrounding Piccadilly, with 247 performers from around the world. It was pure unadulterated circus on every corner. I saw some of the most *magical* performances by circus companies/performers who included: CirkVOST, Circolombia, Cie Mauvais Esprits, Pirates of the Carabina, The Circus Space and Eric and Alma. If any of these companies are performing near you, drop everything, don’t ask any questions, just GO SEE THEM!!!
I heard that it rains a lot in London but…… Feathers?
I was like a kid in a sweet shop and literally stayed from morning until night for the grand finale. Les Studios de Cirque were the company chosen to perform the grand finale ‘Place Des Anges’. The performance centered around an army of angels all dressed in white huddled high above the masses looking down at us from their lofty perch (Which used to be Virgin Records/Tower Records).
After lighting a flame they descended from the heavens on zip wires (In a series of innovative ways) wafting joy and hypoallergenic feathers down to earth. As the night progressed the feathers fell hard and fast until in some areas the audience were knee high in feathers – cue impromtu feather fights and rolling around on newly soft pavements. I’ve never seen such looks of ecstasy on people’s faces. Grown adults transformed into children, laughing whilst throwing feathers in the air.
It was an awesome end to a wonderful day. Thanks to the Mayor and Crying Out Loud. Truly stunning. I hope that this isn’t the last time that we see the streets of London transformed into a fully functioning (proper) circus…
Cantina from Australia performed at the Southbank. The show was performed in a mirrored marquee – a 1920s Spiegeltent to be exact. The atmosphere in the tent was dark and smouldering with a faint hint of debauchery in the air and there was a real effort to show the audience even us circus diehards something different – circus with a dark, deadly and passionate twist.
One of the performers Chelsea McGuffin, walked perilously across a tightrope in six inch high heels and then later trampled a musclebound acrobat in the same said heels, another walked and handbalanced across broken glass and one teetered across a row of Champagne bottle tops. Henna Kaikula was the contortionist who you watched through your fingers. The highlight for me had to be the corde lisse artist Mozes who had earlier performed a naked magic trick. He returned fully clothed to perform a gripping rope act which ended with him seemingly hanging himself. It was a heart in the mouth performance – superb.
I also caught some other great circus performances on the Southbank at The National’s ‘Inside Out’/’Watch This Space’. Pyrotechnical madness from The Burnt Out Punks, twirling, flexible fun from Hoop La La and performances from Circus Space’s degree students.
2012 also saw Ockham’s Razor beautiful new show ‘Not Until We Are Lost’ which you can see at The Arts Depot in April 2013 so I won’t say too much about it except enjoy….
I’m already looking forward to circus in 2013. Can’t wait!!