Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
My 9 year son was very excited to be invited to the press event of Giffords Circus 2022 show Carpa!, in Chiswick, West London last night. Although he had been to a couple of circuses before he was really young and couldn’t remember much about them, so it was with a great deal of anticipation that we set off for the journey to London. Unsurprisingly our first train was cancelled but we managed to do an extra change to get there around 20 minutes before the performance began. The circus is held in the grounds of Chiswick House, and we couldn’t have picked a more glorious evening to take the fifteen minute stroll from Chiswick Station to the venue.
On arrival we could immediately see that this was a good old fashioned circus, with beautifully painted caravans and what looked like a huge canvas big top circus tent. The atmosphere was buzzing with people eating and drinking in the warm evening sun, looking forward to the spectacle ahead. We purchased some popcorn and had some complimentary drinks from the bar while we waited. About 10 minutes before 8 O’clock when the show was due to start, a bell rang and we were allowed to take our places inside the tent. It is all unallocated seating, so get there early if you want ringside seats.
There are plenty of entrances into the circus area, so it was easy to find a seat. Inside it initially surprised me as it seemed quite large from outside but actually, once inside the ring is quite small and intimate. This is perfect for getting a close up of the acts and with seats staggered right down to the edge of the ring everyone gets a great view. The seats soon filled up and there was a fantastic atmosphere in the tent, even though it was a very warm evening it wasn’t excessively hot inside, and soon adults and children alike were enjoying the fabulous music from the Giffords Circus Band.
While the band played, we were entertained by the very untraditional looking clown, Tweedy Gonzales, a fantastic comedian who has been with Giffords for over fifteen years. We didn’t think too much into him being dressed in a sombrero until the fabulous Dona Rosa (Adriana Duch Carvallo), introduced the show and for the next two hours the three of us and the rest of the audience were spellbound by an amazing Mexican experience.
Directed by Cal Mccrystal, Carpa, is nothing like we expected from a traditional circus, vibrant Mexican music, amazing skipping routines from Los Pachangeueros, awesome knife throwing routines from The Jasters, there is literally something to keep everyone entertained.
One favourite was Anna Rastova the aerial artiste, an immensely talented gymnast that performs high up on a swinging trapeze, she was mesmerising and kept you on the edge of your seat with her daredevil tricks. Another Was El Mariachi, a juggler with an unusual twist to his act, don’t try this at home!
What really made the show come alive was Dona Rosa & Tweedy and their hilarious slapstick comedy routines, which were suitable for all ages, and the fabulous background set. I’ve never seen a small circus before with such a grandly decorated set and beautifully designed costumes. They really brought Mexico to the UK.
A traditional circus but with a very untraditional performance meant we had a fantastic evening at Giffords Circus. Whether you are a couple or a family looking for an afternoon or evening out I highly recommend a trip to see Giffords performance of Carpa!
Rating: Highly recommended 5 out of 5.
Tickets Cost – Adults £35; Children £25; under 3’s and carers free
Carpa! is at Giffords Circus, Chiswick House, London from 16th – 27th June, for more information or to book tickets visit https://giffordscircus.com or call the box office on 01453 800200