This week I found out the story of the man of whom I did not know existed until six months ago.
That man is called Philip Astley – Creator of the Modern Circus, who lived a couple of streets down from me, and has just had his 250th anniversary, of his creation, of the modern circus.
The fact that he has had no fanfare or real recognition prior to this year by Newcastle under Lyme council, shows more about the shift towards art and culture being put forefront, amidst the usual “pfft. It’s all a waist of money” brigade, than to anything else.
The story was told by The New Vic Theatre done in a most fantastical way.
Theatre, Art, Circus acts, both real and reinvented to suit the stage, Comedy and some Panto-esq performances, off stage as well as on, seemed to flow seamlessly one scene to another. I sat in the upper floor seats, which I prefer to be honest, and was torn as to watching the action on the stage or the tremendous amount of work that is done , unnoticed by nearly all, in the framework above it or in the mission control booth off to one side, I presume all the effects are controlled from there.
The pace was fast, only to slow down as much for the actors to catch breath one would think, as to tell the story, even this was done cleverly. At this point one does not know whether one will be writing a blog on the plays seen, but if this is the case, I will leave the publishing of those blogs until after the performances have stopped – I could say too much and put out al lot of spoilers – unlikely, it would be for someone to read it before going, but it would be sods law if I did.
I left the theatre feeling a sense of wonderment, a wonderment I have not felt at a circus nor play for decades. It has been their most ambitious play so far, to be honest I cannot see how it could be beaten and still be a play. They defiantly cannot have more circus style acts than what they had, there is not the room. No, one thinks it could only be matched. This play has set the bar, and it has set it high!
The last play that left me with a sense of wonderment?
It was at The (Old) Victoria Theatre, back when I was in middle school. The play was…Treasure Island.
One can still see the actors swinging in the rigging ropes suspended from the ships mast even now.