Chiswick House and Gardens, London
UK Tour to follow2nd June – 19th June
“Directed by Cal McCrystal (‘Mother Goose’ starring Ian McKellen and John Bishop, ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ at the National Theatre).
Award winning and internationally renowned production designer takis, whose elegant work has graced the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses, will once again create lavish sets and period costumes that will transport audiences to a magical – and unexpected – world under the canvas of the big top.
Award winning and internationally renowned production designer takis, whose elegant work has graced the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses, will once again create lavish sets and period costumes that will transport audiences to a magical – and unexpected – world under the canvas of the big top. “
Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars
A traditional family circus that started in 2000. Setup to be a “village green” circus is now a much larger venture with international acts and a smattering of theatrical flavour.
Opening with a nod to Moulin Rouge and in the 2nd half some Phantom flavour, the set design is suitably glamorous and lush, far exceeding expectations of a big top circus.
Between each speciality act comes Tweedy the Clown (who has been awarded a BEM no less!) who has credits as far reaching as Barnum and Bailey in Madison Square Gardens. I’m not a fan of circus clowns but the families love Tweedy and he’s as good as you’ll find.
There is a “feats with the feet foot juggler”, a 6 man acrobatic troupe, a live singer who was fabulous, some ponies, 2 aerial hoop girls, and a male aerialist who was fantastic.
Press night nerves got the better of the acrobatic troupe but their energy was still infectious! The lighting came from a very minimalistic set of lights but was very effective and added to the big top vibe. The sound slightly over-amplified for the band reducing the impact of the singer “Clair de Lune”.
I had thought animals had been banned in UK circuses but googled this and see that wild animals have been banned – allowing Giffords to parade 4 x ponies with whip whielding trainer for entertainment.
I was surprised that many of the directed sections of the production were pushed so far downstage with bows so far downstage that left many of the audience on the sides of the circus ring excluded.
The brother and sister roller skating act was exciting. With wrist wripper, neck and ankle gripper spins, this exhilirating duo had a great reception from the audience.
My favourite number was absolutely the aerialist. Antony Cesar, a fifth generation circus performer, won the Golden Buzzer in the French version of France’s Got Talent. His love of dance, strength, flexibility, skill and theatricality combined to show a cord de ligne strap aerial piece that perfectly matched the music.
All in all a wonderfully nostalgic evening of family entertainment, all supported by a live band and a huge troupe of circus folk.
Photo credit: Rachel Louise Brown
Photo by Nick Warner
New acts for Les Enfants du Paradis include:Antony Cesar, an exciting 20-year-old aerialist who won the golden buzzer on ‘France’s Got Talent’ in 2020. Antony’s parents are artistes Pat Bradford and Kate Smyth who appeared in early Giffords Circus shows with their hand-balancing act, Kate is also Giffords Circus choreographer. Also starring in Les Enfants du Paradis:
Sergi Buka, an amazing illusionist, shadow artist and lanternist who will perform a poetic Chinese shadow act.The Skating Medini (Asia and Dylan Medini) – a dynamic high-speed roller-skating act from one of Italy’s oldest circus families.Amanda Sandow with her beautiful liberty pony act. Foot juggling and aerialist artistes Romy and Alex Michael. The Luna Girls – aerial hoop duo Marina Alvarado de Luna and Markia Ashley Gould. The Ethio-selam Troupe, a very exciting Ethiopian acrobatic troupe, who will perform the double Chinese pole. The Ethio-selam Troupe are managed by Bibi and Bichu, Giffords alumni and jugglers who appeared in more than 10 Giffords Circus shows and were adored members of the circus, so it’s heart-warming to have them back. Tickets are on sale now for all grounds and further information about Les Enfants du Paradis can be found at www.giffordscircus.com
Les Enfants du Paradis 2023 Tour DatesChiswick House and Gardens, London 2nd June – 19th June Home Farm Live, Elstree 22nd June – 26th June Evenley Wood Garden, Evenley 29th June – 10th July Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames 13th July – 24th July Barrington, Oxfordshire 27th July – 7th August Minchinhampton Common, Gloucestershire 10th August – 21st August Marlborough Common, Wiltshire 24th August – 4th September Stratton Meadows, Cirencester 7th September – 18th September Fennells Farm, Stroud 21st September – 1st October
Fennells Farm, Stroud 6th April – 17th April Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire 20th April – 24th April Daylesford Organic Farm, near Stow-on-the-Wold 27th April – 8th May Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe 11th May – 15th May Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire 18th May – 30th May