From the moment we entered the car park to watch Giffords Circus – ¡Carpa! we were transported to a different era with the circus girls ushering us to our car parking space. We walked towards the big top tent (an actual big top tent!)and we were surrounded by the smell of popcorn, candyfloss and hay (a very provoking combination) and the sounds of music & frivolity.
The happiness was palpable amongst both the children and adults everywhere. What a beautiful evening for a show in amongst the beautiful landscape of Bowood house and gardens.
I didn’t really know what to expect in regard to a circus of this nature, as I don’t remember going to the circus as a child but I did know that my son (4) and daughter (nearly 9 months) would both enjoy (as well as my husband, whose birthday had been the day before).
What struck me walking into Giffords Circus was the intimacy. You are so close to the acts, and we sat right next to the band who played wonderful mariachi music for the Mexican extravaganza. My daughter was absolutely mesmerised by the music and musicians. Being so close is very special as we have seen a ‘more well-known’ circus show at The Royal Albert Hall but with such a large venue you don’t feel as much part of the action and lose that intimacy which makes live acts so special. With Giffords Circus, you are in it, you can see the relationships between the performers on stage. The trust. The exhilaration of having just performed something so fantastic (and risky). It’s wonderful and thrilling in equal measure. You can also see how happy and well treated the horses are (which is always a big one for me in regards to performing animals).
The Giffords Circus – ¡Carpa! show is truly spectacular. The review of Giffords Circus – ¡Carpa! / tagline from Hugh Grant of ‘The most fun you can have in a tent’ is spot on. The show has something for everyone, of every age. The story throughout the show is hilarious, sad and engaging, demonstrating differing needs and emotions to children of all ages. The acts are mesmerising and spectacular, especially given the space. There are silly acts for children but also jokes for adults that the children won’t get (which I personally always find fun as it’s a bit like an ‘in joke’ with the show).
I have never seen my son, Dylan (4) so in shock and awe. He particularly loved the trapeze artists (both were sensational in their abilities), the juggler (especially when he juggled ping pong balls out of his mouth!!Dylan now wants to learn that particular skill!!), the magicians (with their changes of clothes which were unbelievably perfect on timing & my sons face was a picture) and the knife thrower (the sort of thing you only ever see on BGT!).
The first act went quickly as we were transported in our minds to rural Mexico. The set was beautifully made and really captured the look of Mexico (and I lived & worked in rural Mexico many years ago) and the costumes gave a real authenticity to the affair. My husband and I joked that the only thing missing for the adults was a shot of tequila to really transport everyone to Mexico!
For my son it was all the more fun as we had just returned from Spain so he was able to make out the Spanish words and we had been learning numbers in Spanish so when they sang the song of this he loved that he was able to join in. We got sweets for the second act (unfortunately they had run out of popcorn) to sustain us ( Dylan who was tired but mainly because there is so much going on). The second act was shorter and just as engaging as the first. Some acts were repeated but were just as good (if not better) the second time round and importantly you still couldn’t tell how anything was done. The finale was full of music, dancing and jollity. I wish I could have got up and danced with the performers as they all looked like they were having such an amazing time.
Some stand out points for me of Giffords Circus – ¡Carpa! ;- the attention to detail from all the performers and back stagecrew is truly remarkable given the nature of a travelling circus. – The site crew ensure that the show is not just disability friendly but went out of there way to make sure that their disabled guests were comfortable and having a wonderful time. This is something you do not see in not only many venues, but it was obviously very well thought through. – The relationships between the troop (who were fantastic, and their energy was something else) was really lovely to see and you could see how much the show meant to all the performers as covid must have hit the company hard.- The choreography of the performance was world class – every bit finessed and it works wonderfully.
For a family evening out Giffords Circus – ¡Carpa! is up there as one of the best we have experienced to date. Since we saw the performance on the 29 April, I have told numerous people to get tickets and we will certainly be going to the next show!
You can get a feel for the show with the trailer here
LISTINGS for Giffords Circus – ¡Carpa!
14 – 25 APRIL Fennells Farm, Stroud, Gloucestershire
28 APRIL – 3 MAY Bowood House & Gardens, Wiltshire
6 – 16 MAY Daylesford Organic Farm, Kingham, Gloucestershire
19 – 30 MAY Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire
2 – 6 JUNE Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
9 – 13 JUNE Home Farm Live, Elstree
16 – 27 JUNE Chiswick House & Gardens, London
30 JUNE – 11 JULY Evenley Wood Garden, Evenley
14 – 18 JULY Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames
21 JULY – 1 AUGUST Barrington, Burford, Oxfordshire
4 – 8 AUGUST Frampton-On-Severn, Gloucestershire
11 – 22 AUGUST Minchinhampton Common, Gloucestershire
25 AUGUST – 5 SEPTEMBER Marlborough Common, Wiltshire
8 – 19 SEPTEMBER Stratton Meadows, Cirencester, Gloucestershire
22 SEPTEMBER – 2 OCTOBER Fennells Farm, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.