The young reviewer and his adult companion attended the annual ‘High Top Circus Student Showcase‘ at the Spiegeltent during Brighton Fringe Festival during half term.
Inspired by the world of Disney favourite Mary Poppins, this was an evocative and incredibly sweet show involved young performers in beautiful surroundings. With an opening number from the first Mary Poppins film these fledgling artistes brought everyone on stage to create a tableau before retreating to display two little girls hula hooping in a sort of circus kindergarten.
Following this with a Mary poppins trapeze and a nursery theme, there were some very polished performance on silks and a mime version of the song ‘It’s a jolly holiday with Mary’ replete with a carousel horse. A later suffragette theme with more hula hoops in the requisite feminist colours was a moving experience and this led on to a trapeze performance with one of the Trafalgar Square filmic pigeons aka a young child dressed as pigeon performing very competently.
Every member of the High Top circus had a turn and a favourite was a professional turn from a trapeze swinging chimney sweep which showed real promise. Later, young circus performers in character fed the birds before a switch to the tightrope complete with chimney sweep brushes. Classics including Let’s go fly a kite and a very elegant silks performance to the lullaby ‘Stay awake’ were a delight.
The show was split evenly between new and old Mary Poppins favourites, comprising songs and references from the original film and the newest one with actress Emily Blunt with an exhortation to ‘Be your own illuminiary’. A final segment with the balloon lady and some chirpy kids brought this show to its end with a final thought that ‘there’s nowhere to go but up’!
It must have been an epic challenge coordinating so many kids but it was touching nonetheless with some polished performance from the older performers. I’m thinking about roping our young reviewer into joining the High Top circus for future performances.