Ever dreamt of running away with the circus? Have a yearning for acrobatics and clowning around? Well, why not try an afternoon at Giffords Circus, before you commit to a life on the road?
Last Friday, we visited the travelling circus, as it stopped in Marlborough. The tent was filled to capacity with a mix of children, parents and grandparents. It was immediately obvious to me that some parents had finished work early, and were joining the rest of the family at the circus. A special treat for the whole family, then. Lou pre-ordered amazing burgers and fries at the Field Food Caravan for the interval (maximum organisation points) while the kids queued for pink candy floss.
The big top is arranged with elevated wooden bench seating. The glamorous circus ushers encouraged us all to our seats and there an atmosphere of anticipation quickly built. Tweedy the clown had some fun with his pet iron, Keef, and had the crowd’s full attention even before the curtain was raised. This year’s theme is ‘Any Port in a Storm’, with a Latin American band and a cast of acrobats and performers from around the world.
With the whole audience sat close to the action, there is no escaping the impact of the show. A double act of comedic acrobats contrast with more serious and wonderous high-wire type performances. Horses thunder around the ring.
Before the interval, we were treated to an astounding display of acrobatics as a group of exceptionally buff performers swung and leaped from the trapeze. The finale of the first half had the band swinging and the actors giving ever more daring performances, while the crowd moved, clapped and cheered to the rhythm.
Back in the bright sunshine, we collected our pre-ordered feast of pork belly burgers, skin-on chips (with bacon and sour cream). A steak sandwich for me and a halloumi burger for Lou. The sort of food you’d be very happy to receive in a hipster cafe somewhere. Any meal that comes with tender stem broccoli is a winner for me. We took the fries back in to the tent and I ate them quietly as the boys were quickly back under the spell of the performance.
After all the noise and excitement – we plonked our selves on the lush green grass, shared a couple of tubs of ice cream and talked about our favourite bits of the performance. For me, the star of the show was a little chicken that appeared in the ring for less than 20 seconds. The crowd reacted with so much joy as she dashed around the ring. Its exactly this sort of personality and humour that makes Giffords so enjoyable to watch. Little running jokes. Suspense filled acrobatics and a live band who could easily entertain the crowd all on their own.
Giffords Circus continue performances in Cirencester from the 7th of September until the 18th and then Fennell’s Farm in Stroud between the 21st and 24th of September.
The tour started in May this year, and took in Oxford, Henley-on-Thames, Chiswick House & Gardens London. Join the Giffords Circus mailing list to receive early notification of 2018 dates, offers and news about performers and animals.
Collaboration Note: Giffords Circus kindly invited us to review the show. All thoughts, and words are by Dan Taylor. Images by Lou Archell. Thank you for supporting the posts that make this blog possible.