Gandeys Circus, The Greatest Showmen Tour
When I was little Michael Crawford did a stint as PT Barnum on Broadway. I had some grainy VHS recording of it and watched it on a loop for months. Absolutely loved it and learnt the words by heart to most of the songs. Fast forward thirty-something years and my children now know all the lyrics to the newest PT Barnum to greet the world, this time ‘The Greatest Showman’ on the silver screen. They sit and watch the film in awe, soaking in the magic and mesmerised by circus life, the same way I was when I fell in love with it, way back last century!
When I told the boys we were going to Gandeys Circus, an actual real life circus and even better the tour was called ‘The Greatest Showmen Tour’ they were ecstatic. Rather stupidly I did tell them weeks ago, so I was questioned on a daily basis with “Is today circus day?”
Easter Sunday was finally circus day! I was the one who squealed with excitement when I saw the Big Top. It’s over 30 years since I’d been to the circus. First time for my husband and 2 boys, ages 6 and 3. We were in the queue early and were lucky enough to get brilliant central seats. The show began bang on 2pm and started with the cast singing (totally miming) and dancing to The Greatest Show, PT Barnum and the bearded lady were even there much to my boys delight. A brilliant, energetic and gripping start and the level of thrills seriously never slackened throughout.
The Greatest Showmen (and women) consisted of a myriad of first class international performers from Cuba, Kenya, France, Portugal, Colombia and the UK. Without exception every performer had brought their A game and amazingly they all brought it with a smile. How anyone can smile when they’re stood on the seat of a chair, which is balancing on a tight wire 20ft up (with no safety net) is beyond me!
The Gerlings were the no safety net
nutters professionals. Some of their stunts were just unbelievable, there was a voice from the wee girl sat behind us just going “oh my god, oh my god” every time they appeared, and rightly so.
Running over a tight wire ✓
Lying down on a tight wire ✓
Cycling across a tight wire ✓
Sitting on a chair on a tight wire ✓
Standing on a chair on a tight wire ✓
Walking across carrying pal on shoulders ✓
Our other favourites included the bendiest limbo dancer ever, going under a bar so low I wouldn’t have even been able to crawl under it – not only low, but oh, also on fire. The incredible strength of Manuel on the acrobatic pole. Very impressive if a little scary BMX acrobatic agility, any Danny McAskill wannabees should definitely check this out. There was also fire eating, precision ball catching by the smiliest performer of the afternoon, a brilliant clown who entertained whilst set changes were underway and some insanely amazing/powerful rope artists.
Another of the shows major stars is The Flying Havana’s troup. Wow! I was half watching them, half watching the mesmerised look on my 6 years old face as they flew at speed across the big top from bar to bar and from one set of hands to another. That was quite something, although when they produced blindfolds and did the same with no sight, aaargh I did feel a little bit queasy. Watch the video above, blindfolds and not in a good way!
The show grand finale was the Gerlings on the double wheel of death. Two rotating arms (think hamster wheel that doesn’t spin) with large open pods at either end. The arms rotated at speed, the men appeared to defy gravity within the pods and flew. With no safety mat and only a whole lot of metal and sawdust floor to hit if they stumbled and fell. They spun, they leapt around pods and balanced precariously both in and outside of them, they produced ropes and to audible gasps of WTF they skipped across the top of the spinning pods. The whole thing was a huge success.
All of the performers were outstanding. The strength in not only body, but also mind to safely pull off the stunts they do on a daily basis is bewildering. I can’t begin to fathom the hours and hours that must have gone into making this show what it was. A huge effort from so many and literally risking their lives for our entertainment. Not many people can claim they do that in their day job!
We left with 2 very happy boys. My 6 year old has asked 4 times today when we’re going back, and my 3 year old has decided he’s a limbo dancer.
Gandeys Thrill Circus is on in Sighthill Public Park, Edinburgh until Sunday 8th April. After this they head to Dumfries, Penrith, Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead, Guernsey and Jersey. Check out the dates and locations here. If you’re near any of these venues I would definitely urge you to make the trip. A couple of hours of sheer magic, exhilaration and the peace of transfixed children – what’s not to love?! I definitely won’t be leaving it another 30 years till my next visit. Until then, back to The Greatest Showman soundtrack at full blast in the car home ♥
Disclaimer. I received a family ticket for this show in return for an honest review.