Running away to the circus

I ran away to the circus this weekend. Only for an hour and a half, mind. Circus Ginnett had set up their big top on the village playing fields, such a short walk from the house that a visit seemed in order! I have vague recollections of going to a circus with my family as a youngster. I can’t remember any details of what I saw, so I suspect even that memory might be a fake, conjoured up from all the films and TV programmes that have been set in a big top over the years.

According to their website, Circus Ginnett have been touring for over 150 years, albeit with significant breaks. The current show feels a long way from the mystique of the Victorian travelling circus. There were no great beasts, as you would expect these days, only a collie performing a few party tricks. Wooden tiered seating has been replaced by stackable plastic garden chairs. The sand and sawdust ring has been substituted for a raised wooden stage.

However, the cast of seven attacked the show with a lot of energy and multi-tasked their way through smoothly. The guy that that sold me the popcorn before the show was fire juggling with his feet before the show was out. The girl next to him was dangling from ribbons of cloth in the roof of the tent before long.

All the kids present enjoyed the clowns’ physical comedy, complete with water gags and prat falls. I was most impressed by the acrobatics, some of which are featured in the accompanying photos (taken with my phone + Lightbox). All performed, of course, without the aid of a safety net. These were displays of strength, co-ordination and agility that showed the dedication needed to be a circus performer. That’s something that hasn’t changed.

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