Last week we all went to the circus. But this was no ordinary circus, this was the Gifford Circus and we stepped into a magical world where every detailing from the pattern on the big top, to the stage backdrops, the costumes and even the enamel mugs for the coffee during the interval was perfect. This travelling ‘family’ of passionate performers and creatives exude a dream that is built into every button and every crumb of the circus experience for the lucky audiences that come to see the show. We left feeling entirely uplifted and inspired.
The theme of the show is Xanadu inspired by Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan. It’s a psychedelic homage to the 1970’s, bubbling with groovy music and gorgeous costumes. Early on in the first act we meet the funky guru Pozo and a half dozen doves flutter into the big top and into his outstretched arms. I immediately loved everything about the show. It’s artfully created by a host of talented costume designers, lighting designers, directors and choreographers, not to mention the international troupe of jaw dropping performers and their beautiful birds and animals. This circus is seriously cool.
A close friend of mine recommended the circus to me whilst hacking out with our horses. I glibly said ‘oh yeah the kids might like the circus and asked if it was the one that comes to our local town.’ She laughed and said ‘no not at all.’ She was passionate (almost evangelistic) about Giffords and said she had been going every year for as long as she could remember. I took note. This must be good, very good! Later at a friend’s 40th birthday party I got talking to another Mum I had just met and mentioned Giffords. She immediately took on a starry look and said the same thing. That the whole family had been going for years and years. I felt like I had been let in on some fabulous secret. I couldn’t wait to go and bought us all tickets for the first weekend we could squeeze it in.
It can be a bit hit and miss taking young children to any event. Sometimes you have to take it on the chin and remove yourself and your small child if tantrums and food slinging occur. I never really know which way it is going to go. Often we split up and my husband takes our eldest (who is 6) to the cinema or similar and I stay at home in the garden with our youngest (who is 2, almost 3). I’ve found myself looking forward to events we can share together and this was a great opportunity.
Happily we made it through both acts with the help of ice lollies and a couple of stern words for our little boy to sit nicely and watch the show after he started to attempt an escape from the big top by scaling over the top of my head. My little girl was enthralled. At the end of the show the audience is invited to come down to the stage and dance with all the performers, so my boy got to enact his rampage around the big tent after all and was very happy.
Aside from the fabulous performances one of things I really loved was the actual set up at Stonor Park. I get very nervous taking young children to big public events as my little boy is so quick. We often say he is like smoke he is so quick to ‘leg it’ and I need eyes in the back of my head. This venue and the layout of the tents and catering was so laid back and uber cool. I could relax a bit and let him dash about. It genuinely was a breeze and the more we do, the easier it will get right? We parked right next to the circus in the big field where everything was located. It was easy. All the things I normally worry about, kids running off, buggies, parking, tantrums were no trouble at all. The kids did run about, but it was all part of it. It felt like an adventure, like we had walked into another land.
It was so well organised and friendly I felt completely at home and able to spend a priceless few hours with my family, all together, enjoying the incredible show. Thank you to everyone at the Giffords Circus for a magical afternoon. Can’t wait to see you again next year…