Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mr Magic wants you to say "woo."

We tried something new, and took the boys to the Clarence Pool on Sunday.The kids pool is all pretty much the same depth, and Michael can't scamp in and out of it like he does at the Aquatic Centre. It was really quiet there, only one other family in the kids pool. The boys liked it a lot. Michael hopped right around the perimeter of the pool, like a little Vietnamese water puppet.

On the way to the pool driving down the Southern Outlet (which I suppose makes it an Inlet), I had noticed the big top of Silvers Circus poking up from the Domain. We decided on the spot to go to the circus in the afternoon. We went home for a snooze after swimming, then back down the Outlet to the Domain.

It had rained earlier in the day, but was now very hot and steamy as we parked on the grass and walked into the big tent. Even though the tent was just about half full, our designated seats were behind a pylon. Once we realised no-one was coming to take the better seats, we snudged along a bit to where we could see the action.

The main man, ringmaster and magician, looks like a Ricky Gervais character - portly, with a ridiculous sharp "magician" beard. His schtick was way over the top, in fact he would make Ian Turpie look dry. He said his stuff portentuously, then raised his hands (allowing his spangly cape to flare), and waited for us to applaud.

This was "Silvers Grand Magic Circus" - so Mr Magic and his leggy assistants filled about half the running time. Disappearing into cupboards, folding themselves impossibly into drapes, turning into doves - they did it all, very impressively.

Clowns came, clowns went.

Michael found it all too loud and a bit overwhelming. Marcus loved it. At intermission he shouted "It's amazing! It's all amazing!" A boy came on sweeping the stage with a wide broom. "Wow! That broom's amazing!"

What really was amazing was the weather. An equatorial downpour had arrived during the first act. As I went out to get a coffee, I was puzzled to see people coming back looking like they'd been doused with a firehose. There was a gap between the tents of about an inch, and anyone walking between them came out sodden. Looking out from under the catering tent, I could see the whole town copping a once-a-year torrent.

Back under the big top, in the second act there were various jugglers and acrobats. I might be a bit spoiled, but I think they were about the standard of the average street busker. The circus acts obviously have a big advantage in props, costumes, stage space, not-being-shat-on-by pigeons etc. But in pure "that's amazing" terms, they were just OK. At the end of their stint every one, without exception, gave the crowd a big wind-up or hand-to-the-ear as if to say 'I want more than just applause, I want to hear "woo"'.

The one standout act I thought was the Hoop Lady. She had hoops comin' and goin'. She hula'd on the ground, she hula'd standing on a big disco ball, she hula'd ten hoops, she hula'd thirty hoops. She really showed those hoops who was boss.

At the end Mr Magic laid it on thick again about how their best publicity was word of mouth, so go out there and tell your family and friends. Well, I just want to tell you all I give it a C+. The + is especially for the guy who spent most of the second half digging a canal with a mattock to let the water backstage drain away. Well done son.

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