One of my duties as a volunteer with the Belfast Festival at Queens was to attend the performance by Tumble Circus called ‘Damn the Circus’ at Belmont Park in East Belfast, which was on for two nights. The following weekend it moved across to the Falls Park in the West of the city, an example of the Festival organisation seeking to reach out into other parts of Belfast apart from the leafy suburbs of the Malone Road. I enjoyed the performance by the three members of this far from traditional circus.
This was not one of the events for which I was blogging. The volunteer that evening was Colin Hassard, a Festival Ambassador, and I reproduce his review here from the BFQ Festival Blog page:
“The small-top in Belmont Park provided the setting for Damn The Circus, a three person performance of tragic-comedy theatre set behind a dazzling and distinctive display of circus and artistic spectacle. From the opening scene of acrobatic strength, poetical monologue, and foreboding harp, we were aware that this would not be the circus as we know it.
As narratives of family, life and reality were subtly explored, the audience learnt how each performer aspires to something bigger and better, from joining Cirque Du Soleil, to working with Enya – all portrayed with comic frustration at their current situation.
The show was interwoven with familiar songs by artists such as Snow Patrol and Johnny Cash, yet these propelled the narrative and to have Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit eerily plucked by harpist Ursula Burns as the acrobats taunted gravity high above the stage, only added more tension.
Acrobats Ken and Tina clearly had a deep and trusted understanding, yet it was Tina’s solo aerial silk performance that provided a personal highlight. As she wriggled and twisted through the red curtains only to repeatedly tumble and be caught at the last moment, you could hear the audience’s gasps before their enthralled laughter.
Damn the Circus was a unique and refreshing take on circus traditions and provided wonderful entertainment”.