Last week I was delighted to be invited to the press night at Giffords Circus and went along with giddy excitement. I've been a fan of Giffords for years since I first discovered this vintage 1930's styled village green circus in 2001, enchanted by its (little) big top surrounded by showmans' wagons painted in a glorious burgundy livery.
As I got closer to the venue at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire I started to see the handpainted signs by the side of the road 'circus this way' and I followed them until I found the circus nestled under the most beautiful old horse chestnut trees, who had decided to bloom in celebration with big white blousey blooms.
We were ushered to some seats in the front row, but knew this came with the risk of being pulled from the crowd by Tweedy the very naughty clown and lo and behold I was! I had to pose so that he could take a picture and for a nerve wracking minute I stood frozen in the middle of the ring with the bright circus lights shining on me, obscuring the rows of faces in the audience who roared with laughter as Tweedy worked his magic ~ he is always the star of the show for me. Or maybe, just maybe, that was my audition to run away with the circus, damn I may have ruined my big chance to be discovered!
This years show The Painted Wagon is a wild west extravaganza the styling and costumes were exceptional, even the 'Dodge City' band were all cowboys! Tweedy eased us into the show with his mad-cap capers that lended themselves perfectly to the theme. I was also delighted that Giffords Circus stalwarts Madame Nancy Trotter-Landry, the Ethiopian acrobats and jugglers Bibi and Bichu, all made a welcome return.
I'm not going to detail too much about the show as I don't want to ruin it for you, suffice to say that by the end my cheeks ached from laughing so much and the ariel and acrobat acts had me gasping in wonder as they were so good. You must go and see it for yourself, it really is such a highlight of the summer season in the Cotswolds.
After the show we were invited to dine in the restaurant Circus Sauce, the much-loved 60 cover travelling restaurant, where delicious three course meals are served to guests after the last show of the day. We enjoyed a confit of Tamworth pork and colcannon starter with truffle cream, followed by a spring green soup, then lamb hotpot with pickled red cabbage and spring greens and the most delicious custard tart to finish, all locally sourced. After pudding is served the talented chefs join in the circus fun by performing a hilarious puppet show that had us roaring with laughter. It really is the most magical and perfect way to end a trip to Giffords, under the fairy lights with tables full of mismatched china and jugs of cow parsley on every table.
Giffords Circus is touring the Cotswolds and making a trip to London too, tickets are selling fast and the restaurant is even selling out already, so don't leave it too late to book, you won't be disappointed!