Saturday, 9 January 2016

Chapter 124: A New Year of Circus

Photo: Underground tube (click here)
In the bleak midwinter... well, it's pretty grim (reaper), isn't it? Damp and dark, rain on rain, without even the guts for snow. I wonder if that's why the London International Mime Festival (LIMF) in January, hot on the heels of Twelfth Night, throws up such a veritable feast of innovative performances from the world of visual and physical theatre. There are 18 shows all told, as well as workshops and screenings of vintage classic circus films. For the full low-down, background and everything you need to know, read Donald Hutera's interview with co-directors Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig at (click here)

I have to confess, for me it makes slightly painful reading as I can only make a couple of events this year. "Tasty" and "tantalising" are the adjectives that head up Donald Hutera's article, and indeed I do feel the taste buds in my mouth welling up, and watering, on reading the description of each show in turn. Still, it's relative progress on last year when I couldn't make any at all.

On Sunday, 10 January, I will be seeing Marcel with and by Jos Houben and Marcello Magni ( - click here), which opens the festival at the Shaw Theatre. It ticks a number of boxes. As someone who has just signed up to another workshop in clowning and improvisation in February, it will be an eye opener looking at physical movement. And as someone with a significant birthday creeping up next month the description "despite the fact that the age of his body no longer allows the agility of his youth, he still has a trump-card up his sleeve: his child spirit" struck a chord. Make that a gong! I would love to see Jos Houben in The Art of Laughter as well, and am looking forward to hearing about it from friends.  Nola Rae's superb workshop The Clown Speaks Without Words (click here), would that I could, is on 9 and 10 January: click here.

Photo: Ockham's Razor - Tipping Point
I will be going to Jacksons Lane a couple of weeks later to see Aneckxander (click here), "a raw self-portrait in which the body exposes itself to and tries to escape from the prying eyes of those looking at it." I've heard Alexander is a phenomenal performer, and as a blogger, this idea of the artist's ambivalence towards the necessary exposure of performance resonates particularly at the moment. 

Two of the companies in the listings I have seen in action before.  I caught an excerpt of Swedish Svalbard's All Genius All Idiot (click here) in a pitch at the circus market place Canvas at Jacksons Lane in April. They are mad, surreal, funny, moving and push the limits - the mind boggles at what could be in store in the full-length version. Meanwhile I saw Ockham's Razor in action for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, and was blown away. I haven't seen Tipping Point (click here) but this is a stunningly innovative aerial theatre company and not to be missed. 

In other news, Proteus Theatre is touring my home county of Hampshire at the moment with a production of Little Red and the Wolves (click here)We had a superb time at their family show Rapunzel last year (click here), and while this year it is not a circus show per se, it stars, among others, Kaveh Rahnama, who I've seen in a couple of circus productions, and know it will appeal to anyone with a circus spirit. Ends 17th January.

The superb Canadian acrobatic skaters Le Patin Libre are at Somerset House this week, as mentioned in post Clowning on Ice (click here), with their unique blend of circus meets performance art on ice.

This clown here is also hoping at some point to fulfil a certain pledge to the Slapstick Festival in Bristol 20-25th January, see, which screens silent comedy classics, has a gala and all sorts going on.

After seeing Zippos at Winter Wonderland, I am looking forward to catching the huge variety of stunts and contemporary circus skills on offer in their show Cirque Berserk now on tour and back in London at the Peacock Theatre, Sadlers Wells 8-24 February. (click here).

On my wishlist, La SoirĂ©e is in full swing (click here for last year's cryptic guide) and, as well as the familiar favourites, I would love to see the new acts, like resident clown Mooky Cornish - see the review in Time Out (click here) - ends 17th January.

And then there is Cirque de Soleil's Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall which promises to "send your heart soaring to places it's never been before."

For further news on other circus treats this January see Kate Kavanagh:
For the annual circus reunion taking place in Nottingham see:
Circus Development Forum at the National Centre for Circus Arts on 14 January see:

Happy New Year and here's to the bright times ahead! 

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