I do not remember particularly liking the circus as a child and i hadn't been since I was a child. So when Mum suggested taking Button a few weeks back, I was less than enthusiastic.
I was even less enthused when we looked into the prices, plus the fact that it was at Hawley Garden Centre and so we would need to pay even more for travel.
However, Mum was adamant in her quietly firm way of pretty much ignoring (or at least dismissing or disagreeing with) my concerns and pressing ahead with booking the tickets. So I decided to be proactive and positive and just went with the flow.
Initially, I was impressed, the Ring Master greeting you and checking the tickets in a child engaging and friendly manner. Then walking into the sort of fun fairs you imagine from Secret Seven books with the flair of the Americans. No rides, but an abundance of sweets- a candy cart of sugary wonder (large lollies and dummies etc...) an old fashioned style popcorn vendor, a candy floss stall and a less romantic looking but equally colourful and tempting large hot food and cold drinks lorry. The service was friendly and engaging and the whole theatre of it left you less begrudging of the fairly high prices (higher than a supermarket but probably competitive with a cinema). As you walked round you met the sight of a currently unmanned hot dog cart (probably for the best as we had had dinner and had a large bag of popcorn in one hand and candy floss in the other) that set my heart racing with joy and excitement...
...followed by anti climax! A square block stage surrounded by dining chairs (albeit painted ones) and the rickety backless benches that were allegedly a bandstand. This followed by a late start was not improving my previously held opinions of the Circus!
Then Twiglet entered the fray. A clown, without the silly face paint and traditional clothes. A character who was going to drive the evening's performance alongside the equally commanding and captivating Ring Master. From then on it was an evening of lovely English slapstick humour and superb arial acrobatics. Most importantly, Button was captivated from start to almost the finish (it was quite late for her) and had the icing on the cake when she won the raffle. Lots of memories and excellent moments such as Twiglet accusing Mum of stealing the raffle prizes from Button, the slack rope walking, the Trapeze and the fire juggling. However, special mention must go to the 4 or 5 dads who got roped into going on stage. I consider myself a good Dad, but i would not have been happy being dragged on stage and so I applaud the good nature and fun attitude of those Dads that were!
So as we left, I was forced to re-evaluate my preconceptions and I was left further impressed by the fact that the whole cast of performers were at the exit thanking everyone for coming, posing for pictures and handing out posters. It all helped give the production a family feel and left Button grinning all the way home.