“I held the jewel of my childhood up to my eye, and through it I saw ponies and a dressing-up box and a tent, and that was Giffords Circus.” - Nell Gifford
(Tweedy the clown entertaining the waiting crowds)
Well here we go again for another year. Gifford's are back with their travelling circus, turning village greens into intimate theatres for a week or 2 at a time. Last year we embraced the summer time magic of Minchinhampton, picnicking beforehand and dancing the night away at the back. This time we were off to Sudeley Castle, possibly the best back drop for a small top circus. Very Cotswolds! The pangs of excitement hit us on the Monday of the week we were to attend so when Thursday evening finally arrived we were over the moon. A seamless link to the theme of the show this year, Moon Songs.
The beauty of Giffords Circus is that it is a tale told through comedy, magic and theatre. This year it was a marvellous night for a moon dance as the story commenced when 2 young boys dreaming of being circus performers, entered Luna Park, A dreamland full of mystical performers and run by Odoroff an Argentinian magician. Odoroff was pure comic genius whose "carry on" styled facial expressions and malfunctioning handle bar moustache got the crowd roaring. Of course the brilliantly hilarious Tweedy the clown was back and up to his usual tricks. Turning a deck chair into a 15 minute sketch that had both children and adults in stitches. His crowd participation is spot on, adding to the intimacy that so many loyal Gifford goers enjoy so much. It doesn't matter where you sit in the circus tent you are part of the show and part of the Giffords family.
Tweedy transformed himself as many roles, the man in the moon, the superhero canon acrobat but the most hilarity ensued from his role as Magda the fortune teller, the slogan of the night becoming "Ask Magda". As always his, and the rest of the acts ability to ad lib made the show personal to that particular audience, making one show totally unique to an other. Another highlight was Laura Rowe, editor of Crumbs magazine, being pulled out of the audience to man the emergency electricity generator, a push bike! We wondered how she stayed so slim at Crumbs!
If you remember our blog post from last year we were desperate to try out Circus Sauce, the quirky and rustic travelling popup restaurant serving tea and home baked cakes during the interval and a 3 course dinner for 60 hungry and slightly over excited diners after the show. This was the year we finally tried it out! We imagined Circus Sauce to be special, another slice of magic. We imagined eating home cooked and rustic food by candle light, chatting and laughing with friends and strangers on the same table into the night. We imagined it would almost be so good it didn't feel real and that is exactly what we got. After crying with laughter and working up an appetite dancing with the crew we were excited to feast! Circus Sauce prides themselves on using local and sustainable ingredients which as you know, gets extra points from us! To start, Ham Hock terrine and colchanon cheeks with the most delicious array of breads and choux pastries. Followed by am Oxtail cobbler stew with our first taste of pure bone barrow. Finishing up with a chocolate knickerbocker glory all served in mix-match Emma Bridgwater (Nell's sister) china. The décor and music added to the atmosphere with the grand oak tables set with vintage candelabras and jugs of cows parsley, hanging bunting and handmade tapestries, the chalk board menus and festoon lighting filled the enchanted marquee full of charm. New friends were made at the table and the night ended with the chefs immersing us with their rendition of theatre and circus, a small puppet show with original songs! Brilliant. Everything we had hoped for and more.
Two days on, we swear our cheeks still ache from laughing! A sign of a truly amazing evening. We couldn't recommend this years tour enough, please take your children, friends, grandparents... everyone! It really does offer something for everyone and you will leave wanting to run away with the circus yourself. I mean, where else can you see a dog and a bear riding a horse? It has to be seen to be believed!
Tickets are still available to preorder online or often you can get tickets at Gifford's box-office on the night. Check our their website for more information and don't forget to prebook your table for Circus Sauce while you're at it. Follow Giffords circus on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news and back stage shenanigans.
Thank you Giffords crew for another year of hilarious entertainment! We're already looking forward to what next year brings.
Millie and Meg x