Does Giffords ever put a foot wrong? Not if its new show Les Enfants Du Paradis is anything to go by, because it’s as enchanting as ever and selling out fast.
Set in 19th century France, director Cal McCrystal‘s comedic bent for 2023 has a Romantic take, complete with Pierrot, white horses (well tiny dappled ponies anyway), elaborate operatic costumes (think Folies Bergère crossed with Marie Antoinette) and a wonderful band called Quelle Fromage whom we could have sat and listened to all night.
But as ever, despite the trademark Giffords eccentricities and quirks, it’s the acts that count. And they are absolutely incredible this year.
Tweedy, Giffords notorious clown, is back on mischievous form kicking off with a new sketch involving cow bells, cellotape and much hilarity, before he realises that he’s got competition. Ringmaster Michael Fletcher has brought a new clown to town in the guise of puppet artiste and illusionist Sergi Buka. Let the fun begin.
And so it did, complete with Y-fronts, singing, mini viola playing, puppets, water and laughter, before Tweedy declares himself the winner and drops his trousers.
To match the frivolity there were some series high octane acts to wow us. Our favourites were the Ethio-Selam Troupe from Addis Ababa, whose founder members and Giffords favourites Bibi and Bichu formed the awe-inspiring acrobatic squad especially for Les Enfants Du Paradis.
They perfected the art of the double Chinese pole alongside some incredible gymnastic feats and were the stars of the show, their enthusiasm and cheerfulness shining through.
The Luna Girls – aerial hoop duo Marina Alvarado de Luna and Markia Ashley Gould – literally took our breath away with their daring stunts and extreme dexterity and agility. My they were bendy!
Then there was the unusual act The Skating Medini (a dynamic high-speed roller-skating act) who were like something out of BGT, Amanda Sandow with her beautiful dappled liberty pony act despite Tweedy’s comment. “Those are not ponies but fat Dalmatians.”
As for Antony Cesar, who won the golden buzzer on ‘France’s Got Talent’ his energy and dynamism were extraordinary, regardless of his exceptional aerialist stunts.
Throw in Romy and Alex Michael‘s foot juggling and tight rope antics, Dany and Sito Rivelino‘s extra clowning, Nell O’ Hara‘s beautiful singing – her Les Mis duet with Michael Fletcher which ended in calamity thanks to Tweedy’s interference and you had a show worthy of any.
Giffords never loses any of its magic and Les Enfants Du Paradis is a mete point. So go, leave your troubles behind and gasp, laugh, smile, cheer, applaud and then join in with the dance at the end. A most see date for your summer calendar. Magnifique!
FULL CIRCUS SAUCE REVIEW TO FOLLOW
Catch Giffords Les Enfants du Paradis in Oxfordshire at:
- Daylesford Organic Farm April 29 – May 8
- Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire 18th May 18 – May 30
- Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames July 13 – July 24
- Barrington, Oxfordshire July 27 – August 7
AND OTHER DATES AROUND THE UK AT http://www.giffordscircus.com