Three festivals every week for a year. Mark Graham dreams of running away with the circus
A TRAPEZING, masseuse, zombie nurse is not something you encounter everyday, and the impact of such staff training on A&E waiting times might be worth investigating. Imagine my surprise at finding a trio of young ladies boasting such a skill set; unusual talents were de rigueur in Tralee last weekend for the National Circus Festival of Ireland.
People whizzed around the bustling Kerry town on unicycles, walked from tree to tree on tightropes, cracked bull-whips on public thoroughfares, cycled mini monkeybikes round hotel lobbies and twirled hula-hoops of every colour, diameter and girth. To let off steam after a hard day’s tumbling, they raved in ladies toilets. This crowd were a little more freak than Fossetts and a good deal more deranged than Duffys; a healthy cross between Foróige and Cirque de Soleil. That was just the audience, wait till I tell you about the acts.
A bunch of f@*kin’ clowns! I mean that in the nicest way possible. Acrobats, jugglers, plate spinners, illusionists, balloonatics and an impossibly cute French contortionist who managed to make picking her nose with her big toe while in a reverse crab position look alluring; even eating it didn’t detract from her charm. There were three Brazilian lads who also stole hearts, not through their acrobatics and slapstick, but by performing a naked balloon dance. I’m not sure how the budget will hit circus performers, but rates of inflation were decreasing rapidly for the toned and bronzed Brazilian buachaills, this saw an increase in interest rates from the ladies present.
It took a while to adjust to being an audience member at this festival. To say they were boisterous and up for a buzz is an understatement. Watching a performance with the circus crowd was like sitting in the middle of a Muppet Show AGM. I also mean that in the nicest way possible. They were ready for fun, entertainment and to participate at the drop of one of their many multi-coloured hats.
SERIOUS SHAPE THROWING
Nanu Nanu took to the stage to entertain the troupes, their striking presence and biting beats and blips, usually more suited to darkened rooms, draped with strands of smoke peppered by strobes and scans, seemed at odds with the tumblers, twirlers and tossers who populated the dancefloor. I mean tossers in the nicest way possible too, this crew were plying their trade. The spark that ignited the circus folk was provided by Lords of Strut who rolled up with their mobile disco to provide and old-skool rave soundtrack for some serious shape-throwing. There has never been a better bash in a ladies’ toilet as that their Lordships laid down last weekend. Consult googletube for the visuals and let me hear you say way-ohh . . . Way Ohh!
The Big-Top attraction this weekend is Other Voices in An Daigean. St James’s chapel will be converted into a television studio and the southern leg of the Other Voices series will be filmed in one weekend.
The action isn’t limited to the chapel; there are lots of bands in venues around the town making the sideshow a festival in its own right. Keep sketch for Kodaline, Daithí and In the Willows.
The only way into the chapel is by sacrificing your first-born or entering one of the many competitions on Facepuke or Twatter. But don’t despair, pictures are beamed in to multiple venues, so you can still catch all the performances live while wrapped around a hot whiskey by the fire.
This Sunday for the first time, the shenanigans in the séipéal will also be broadcast live on Network 2. Sky Plus Love Hate. Whether you snatch a pew for musical mass or not, a Dangle in Dingle is always delightful. If I don’t see you there, I’ll catch you in Annascaul.
Safe travels, don’t die
TRAPEZING MASSEUSE ZOMBIE NURSES