Steve Sutherland reviews Giffords Circus – on tour throughout the summer. Book tickets at http:www.giffordscircus.com
WHEN my daughter Molly was two, for her birthday I decided to dress up as the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland.
I hired the full costume, big ears and paws, goofy head and all, sneaked out during the party, got suited up and rang the doorbell. Upon said door being opened she was momentarily struck dumb and then proceeded to wail in a most traumatised and traumatising manner.
Needless to say, it was not the best idea I ever had, a fact compounded by the zip getting stuck so I had to sit there on the sofa, supping cans of beer, feeling guilty that our firstborn may have been psychologically scarred for life, a prisoner inside the stinking thing, sweating like a… well, a giant rabbit, I guess.
Anyway, this may go some way to explaining why very little in this world cheers me up quite so much as seeing another person attired, perhaps even trapped, inside the fake skin of an animal.
Meet Myrtle, the naughty, grinning Bear, returned front and centre stage to the shenanigans at this year’s Giffords Circus. God’s once more in his heaven, ladies and gentlemen. Utter and unbounded joy!
Myrtle shakes a furry leg and some other furry parts alongside the comic genius that is Tweedy, who further exceeds himself, as he does every year, in finding new ways to tickle our fancy. His current palaver involves golf, a hairdryer, bagpipes, a sinister toupee, an electric saw and a high wire trapeze stint with a kitchen chair which is, in equal measure, death defying and hilarious, perched, just as it should be, on the very brink of disaster.
As one of the jolly master-of-ceremonies quipped: “Is there no beginning to his talents!?”
Admittedly all this mayhem appears a little plotless this year, it careers along haphazardly driven by a pocketful of foe-de-oh-doh songs but no discernible narrative. But then again, seasoned Giffords veterans will know that even their most tightly themed outing is happily lax to the point of collapse so no real harm done to our enjoyment. What we do get is a bit of a feast — a turkey that sings along to Anything Goes, lots of gamine flappers, the mesmerically eccentric Nancy Trotter Landry and some dancing dachshunds and miniature ponies, all brilliantly trained and yet happily prone to the odd aberration of cheeky disobedience.
The current troupe also includes a couple of cartoon strongmen inside a rickety wreck of a caravan, some mind-boggling juggling and whole host of, “They’re surely not gonna attempt to do that are they? Ooooh, they are you know!…Wow! How the heck did they do that?” moments to keep us on the plush edge of our seats in the company’s swanky new big top.
Sutho family consensus? Giffords 2018 may not be their most magical ever but they’re still by several country miles the greatest little show on earth.