The Circus Firemen
The Circus Firemen @ Gluttony (The Bally)
7:00pm, Sun 27 Feb 2011
A few people in whom I have faith had recommended The Circus Firemen to me; arriving to find an odd full-house mix of kids, parents, and young adults left me perplexed: who was the target audience supposed to be, again? The question felt answered mere moments into the show, when the titular Circus Firemen over-acted their way into The Bally, really hamming it up for the kiddies.
And, whilst I certainly appreciate all that had gone before them, I wasn’t really sure I was ready for another kids-oriented circus show.
But, when the Firemen really geed up the kids by promising a five-minute show, plus a twenty-five minute encore – “if you cheer really loud” – and opened with some pretty bloody impressive strength and balance tricks on their fireman’s pole, I changed my tune a little.
And when the “encore” started, I changed my tune a lot – because The Circus Firemen were brilliant.
And, after a comical semi-striptease routine that surprised a lot of the children in the front row, I realised that they were a lot more adult than I had expected. There’s still aspects of their presentation that appeals to the younger crowd – the protracted radio-controlled truck sequence, which managed to turn a feeble piss-joke into comedy gold through magnificent timing – but a lot of the banter was most certainly delivered with a cheeky nudge to the adults.
But their circus tricks, though… oh my. Some great ladder balance tricks, some fantastic pair juggling (mostly clubs, though a mini-chainsaw makes an ominous – and noisy – appearance within the confines of The Bally), and their final trick – involving one of the firemen juggling whilst balancing upside down on the the other fireman, who was suspended halfway up their pole – was amazing. There’s no other word for it.
I was absolutely blown away by The Circus Firemen; for an act that pimps itself as being very kid-friendly, it was cheekily satisfying for this childish adult… and that’s before even considering the astounding tricks that were on display. Angus and Matilda (Joshua Phillips and Idris Stanton) are wonderfully polished, high energy performers who will wind up on any Shortlist I can put them on in the future.