Saturday afternoon and evening was the public show at the BJC. This year was the 22nd BJC show, hence Catch 22.
I was in an unusual position as I got to see both shows; in my self-appointed “I’m taking photos” role. My plan was to try 2 angles of shots, 1 at each show.
In the end it worked out that I ran out of battery during the second show so I got more from the first. This was a shame as the lighting seemed to be less helpful to getting good pics in the first show. Mind you that probably serves me right for having a camera with rubbish low light capabilities and a cheapish lens.
There were a few notable differences between shows but the main two were that show 1 was quieter but show 2 was generally more droppy but the better atmos gave me a better time.
Act 1 – The Juggling on Tap Orchestra
I’d seen one of their number (Stuart Pemberton aka Heston Blumenthal) at the previous BJC on one of the open stages (what became known by me as “The Italian Show”) and commented that he was bloody good. I’d heard before this BJC that he was in the show but what I was surprised by was that he had a pair of friends on stage with him.
He did bounce juggling and tap dance whilst one pal was a bongo player and the other a flautist. I’d say this was my fave act. Wasn’t the most technical juggling but the packaging was excellent. Bounce juggling, drums and tap dance served us well for a few mins before the addition of flute added a little extra. Very very good indeed.
Act 2 – Ronan
Poi from someone who realises that movement and choreography is key to a poi routine. Some nice contact stuff included and I’m told some of the stuff he did was very hard (not a poimonger so I don’t know). If you “don’t like poi” then I’m sure there was something in this act that appealed to you. It did me.
Act 3 – Audrey Decaillon
From France. Despite having been around the juggling world for some time I have to admit I’ve never heard of her before. Technical stuff was very good. Loads of club manips and some nice foot rolls and catches. An act with more personality than most too. I rather liked it. Strange combination in her character of vulnerability (particularly highlighted by her choice of costume), anger and assertiveness.
Act 4 – Komei Aoke
Be afraid! Contact and body popping at first and then into balls and dance and then rings and that. All very “street” it was. Very nice indeed. I’d be surprised if Komei isn’t a lot of people’s fave act of the night. He was the only act that had the majority standing at the end of it anyway (that I remember). Well worth seeing him if you haven’t. Whisper it quietly though, he could have maybe cut down the rings section.
Act 5 – Witty Look
I’ve seen bad clowning in my time and the first 2 mins of this act had me worried. Luckily I was as wrong as I’ve been in some time. This pair of clowns and unicyclists had me in fits of laughter. The skills they showed off weren’t half bad either. Doubles unicycling as I’ve never seen before (see pics). Whoever came up with booking these 2 deserves a pat on the back.
Act 6 – Tempei Arakawa
Very snazzy diabolo routine. More droppy (as most of the show was) in the second show which does leave me able to legitimately use the line “He’s good but he’s no Tempei” again.
Act 7 – (Belgian) Martin Heasman
His very snazzy 3 ball routine. I’ve seen this routine 4 times now (now I think of it, quite possibly every public showing of it) and I still love it. Also the only act I remember being less droppy in the second show.
Act 8 – Strictly Dumb Prancing
An act I’ve heard about but never seen. And the word of mouth wasn’t wrong. Funny and skillful acro with 2 well developed stage personae which worked very well. It’s this act that showed me that it’s possible to wear someone like a belt.
Act 9 – Koba
Clearly skillful juggling but it didn’t seem up to the standard of the rest of the show. Probably pleased a lot of ring jugglers (although we did also have Komei and Toby doing rings too)
Act 10 – Toby Walker
Ludicrous hard technical juggling. 7 balls with head bounce and more. I’ve never seen Toby do a whole act on stage before so this was a real treat to finish off the show.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Void kept things going (again better with the later audience) and managed to confound the odd expectation.
Even the bits in the show that didn’t quite live up to what else was there wasn’t bad stuff; just not as good as the rest. When the worst you can say about a show is “the worst bits were good” then it’s been an awfy good show. A fantastic evening.