It was the Royal Wedding day – and a stunning one at that, but that didn’t deter a fantastic crowd turning out for Gandeys Circus on Saturday afternoon. We were treated to some great grandstand seats, and thoroughly enjoyed a good two hours’ thrilling family entertainment.
As we arrived at the site near the old Bowl, there was a lot of traffic piling out from the previous matinee performance, so we had to be patient, but it was so worth the wait. I noticed that the clever ones had cycled there. Noted!
The set inside the colourful big top was intriguing – cables, trapezes and mini ladders everywhere; all would soon come to life after the sparkly opener.
First up were the incredible (and extremely muscular) Havana Troupe, and we were soon introduced to Andrea, the cheeky and loveable clown who would call on a number of ‘willing volunteers’ from the audience and keep us all entertained during scene and equipment changes. The Portuguese juggler astounded us with his dexterity… juggling tennis racquets, and catching juggled balls from on high in little pockets on his belt!
The award-winning hire-wire artists truly took my breath away. My heart pounded and I could barely watch those daredevils, who balanced on a chair and rode a bike (yes, really) across a wire seven metres above the ground, with no safety net. It was genuinely challenging, definitely dangerous and I was very relieved when it was over!
We had a bit of light relief before the next adrenaline rush, in the form of the trapeze artists – the Flying Havanas. Their awe-inspiring performance culminated in a BLINDFOLDED triple somersault and ‘double passage’ where they pass within inches of each other and somehow land in each other’s arms safely. I wasn’t surprised to hear that one of the guy’s names was Danger. That adrenaline gene must run in his family.
I loved the acrobatic artistry and core strength of the aerial artists and my son enjoyed the stunt biker who wowed us with his balancing expertise – involving a park bench and a brave fellow performer/hurdle who took it all in her stride.
Andrea did a lovely job of getting three volunteers from the audience to perform a Star Wars-esque Attack of the Clowns (and they stepped up to the mark admirably).
The grand finale took the form of the legendary Double Space Wheel – a large rotating structure consisting of four separate person-sized wheels, three of which were manned by a running person within. Sadly one artist had had a bad fall earlier in the week from one of these wheels, but thankfully escaped serious injury and came on stage to say hello. The show must go on, and go on it did. I was already very impressed by the ‘wheel-walking’, which looked dangerous enough to me, but when they started skipping on the OUTSIDE of the wheels and walking – BLINDFOLDED – well that was the cherry on the cake!
We left feeling really uplifted; what a great time we’d had and what a professional and memorable show it had been. Thank you, Gandeys, and please come back next year!