Vintage Circus Fun At Chiswick House And Gardens

The new show from touring company Gifford's is Moon Songs


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It was a perfect sunny afternoon for the first performance of Gifford's Circus in the Walled Garden at Chiswick House & Gardens last week.

The vintage circus is to give 24 shows in Chiswick until Weds 24 June in its first visit to London in ten years. And it's very much in the spirit of the 'village green' circus and not the high-tech performance of something like a Cirque.

The performance experiments with the circus form, weaving theatre, opera, dance and puppetry into a 90-minute fun filled show. The rather loose theme is that you enter a Victorian 'lunar' park, hosted by fire-eating Odoroff. Tweedy the clown tries to upset everything and eventually gets fired from a cannon. The show is produced by Cal Mc Crystal ( Mighty Boosh) hence the 'moon voice' theme which will be familiar to fans of the television series.

The most popular performers were the little boy jugglers Bibi and Bichu who bring their thirteen cousins from Ethiopia, all dancing gymnasts. But there are also other highlights, a 'bear' riding a pony, high-stepping Carousel horses, and a brilliant live band, whose repetoire ranges from trad jazz to country and western. It's best to let the pictures tell the story....see below.


Images by Hywel Jenkins and Andrew Rees.

During the interval, the burgundy and gold caravans outside sell pizza and candyfloss, you can have tea from a china cup and even bring your own picnic to eat on the grass. It's a real vintage 'experience' complete with merchandise.

Tickets for the Chiswick House performances are priced at £25 per adult and £15 per child. Children under 3 are free at all shows if sitting on a lap. Some people might consider that a bit prohibitive and and it is definitely more expensive than taking children to the cinema. On the other hand it is cheaper than say, a West End matinee. And it's supporting the craft of the circus worker, which is battling to survive in this electronic-obsessed age.

Moon Songs is a well-crafted and enjoyable performance, in a beautiful setting with a magical feeling. It's a lovely introduction to the circus for little ones.

Box office- 0845 459 7469 or

Anne Flaherty

June 12, 2015

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