Crawley Circus Festival 2005

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The Hawth, Crawley

12-Aug-2005 to 14-Aug-2005

Nicky & I arrived on site at about 5.30pm just after Simon, who was already juggling on one of the lawns. We had a quick wander around the outside of the theatre to scout out a suitable space to build the TWJC camp. The green spaces were already pretty well populated with tents. I think this is a good indication that more & more of us would like the festival to last a bit longer. We stopped by at the Colyer Citadel to say hello to Danny, Catherine, Jenny & Charlie as well as a few other old friends along the way. We found a likely spot which could fit us all in & started pitching our tents. Tasj, Beth & Andrew turned up mid build followed by Helen & John, followed shortly after by Kevin & Becky. Jenny went awol & decided not to turn up until the next day & Dave K waltzed in around 8ish to complete the first respectably sized TWJC contingent to make it to a Crawley festival. At last. Dave also enjoyed the luxury of having his tent put up for him by the advance guard. A service that will not be provided again unless he gets a more sensible tent (& preferably one where the smell of mould doesn't audibly hum).

Helen was upset about getting grass stains on her new trainers. Still it could've been worse, I dread to think of the mess she would have gotten in if she was wearing a suit & tie like Andrew.

We consulted a couple of menus that we had brought along & had been kindly supplied to us by our next tent neighbours & decided on pizza for the first night. Much food & drink was consumed by all, except Simon who wouldn't stop juggling but then he had picked up some 2 diabolo tips from Norbi & he is young & excitable so I suppose we should let him off. Why can't all conventions have picnic tables? The rest of the night consisted of more drinking. Festival virgins, Nicky & Helen were introduced to Chilli Vodka. The rest of the night was very slurred indeed.

Saturday morning it was up for a nice hot shower in a comfy dressing room, then cold pizza for breakfast which was strangely deemed disgusting by some people. After that we picked up our festival passes which took the form of a battle axe pendant, which to me said 'viking' more than 'pirate'. Dave proved the worthiness of the pass though by using his axe to draw blood from Helen.

We spent most of the morning in the sunshine club passing, playing games & doing crosswords & sudoku puzzles. I maintain that factor 4 suncream is pointless. We also watched kids falling over & ride their microscooters into the walls, which was strangely entertaining.

Beth, Andrew, Dave K & I really enjoyed a takeout/stealing workshop hosted by Steve, Amie & Dave the monkey. we were shown the basic late, early & very early takeouts, which Dave & I pretty much already knew but have never really practised seriously (although to be honest we never practise anything seriously). We then went on to cover some more complex stuff like combining takeouts into some really frenzied looking patterns as well as performing the takeouts within a passing pattern. We probably would've learnt much more had we not been laughing so much. We were most pleased to come away with a three person four count takeout trick which we spent quite a bit of time practising for the rest of the festival. It was a top workshop & I'm pretty sure everyone came away with something new.

I was very pleased to pick up a rather spiffy WTF T-shirt off of Little Paul. They were selling fast & were popping up all over the place over the weekend. This is how seriously juggling should be taken.

Saturday afternoon highlighted a minor mistake in the Jon Relf weather forecast with a bit of a downpour. So we all parked up inside, made good use of the bar & made up our own rules for various card games. This kept us amused for ages but I think the bad weather highlighted the lack of indoor juggling space at the Hawth. Luckily though it wasn't long until the Kettle of Fish cabaret show so I don't think it was a big deal.

Sunday morning saw Helen leaving ridiculously early to go sailing on her parent's new yacht (ooh get you!). The rest of us had a bit of a juggle in the marquee. Dave & I spent most of the time passing. Seven club popcorn seemed ridiculously easy because the seam in the roof provided a nice target to aim the triple throw at. We also managed to go from front to front into back to back into front to front again on four count. Some people even clapped.

The Show

Martin & John aka. The Stretch People did a top job hosting the show & performed several skits throughout the entire evening. I had heard a lot about these guys from reading the Catch & word of mouth but had never been lucky enough to catch them live. The pair are a really classy act & didn't disappoint. The dancing on the chairs routine was hilarious. These two made the show worth seeing by themselves.

Opening the show was Derby Circomedia/Circuspace showcase show star Pascal Jorn with his hip hop hat juggling routine. Not much changed since the last time I saw the act but still very impressive & entertaining.

The rather lovely Dominique Major rolled across stage in the German wheel. She did lots of nice stuff like rolling into the splits, balancing on top of the wheel like a rola bola & the classic spinning flat on the stage like a dropped coin. Not that I know anything about rolling around in a German wheel but I think a good sign that they know what they are doing is their ability to come out of a flat spin & be almost spot on parallel to the audience.

The Gandini Juggling Project were on fine form as ever performing two spots, one with Globalls which many of us at TWJC first saw at the BJC in Brighton, set to Vivaldi the troupe really utilised the glowing qualities of the props to create a true glow act & not a juggling act with glowing props. This act was also notable for the first illuminated act I have seen at a juggling convention not to have been spoiled by flash photography. The second spot featured an enormous number of clubs & a lot of running & jumping about. The group finished with a massive 16 club 'Y' to a gathered finish.

Quentin Bancel from France performed with 1 & 2 diabolos. The routine was very good aside from a few mistakes but suffered from being too generic, a problem most diabolo acts seem to be suffering from these days. Also suffering from genericism were Owen & Malte with their flashy clubpassing. Knowing what the two are capable of I was looking forward to seeing their act, which although showing a high level of skill left me disappointed.

A trio from Horsham Gymnastics Club were another highlight of the show for me, I remember the young girl Isis, once performed a jaw dropping solo piece at one of our TWJC Christmas parties one year. Good to see that she is still performing. Their spot was a well choreographed routine combining solo & pairs floor work in a variety of combinations, lots of balances & flips to a very high standard. I really should learn to hold a handstand.

Contact jugglers Jaygo & Ryan of Full Moon performed two extracts from their new show Anomolies. Both acts featured contact juggling with objects other than acrlics. The first act featured some great isolation work with hoops with the performers hands gliding round the circle while keeping it motionless in the air. In the second act the performers manipulated orange UV cigar boxes as if they were floating in space before using a single box to manipulate a single ball by rolling it around the edges. This was combined with the more traditional three ball toss juggling & contact juggling with acrylics. I really liked the idea of manipulating different shapes & it was done very well indeed, but for me it would have worked better as a single act.

Closing the show were Men in Coats who went down a storm at the Tunbridge Wells Winter Street Festival 2000, but I was unfortunate enough to miss them live & only got to see them on video. A non stop reel of visual gags all performed to well chosen music & sound effects, being able to remember the running order for their act is an impressive feat in itself. Proof if ever any were needed that the best clowns don't wear make up.