This weekend is the annual Clowns’ Church Service, held in east London to remember Joey Grimaldi, the father of modern clowning. It’s a wonderfully surreal spectacle of clowns dressed up in their Sunday best. If you’ve always dreamed of running off and joining the circus, here’s a few places you can get a circus fix without leaving zone 4.
The Circus is in Town
What’s big, grey and protects you from the rain? An umbrellafant? Wrong! It’s the Barbican getting circus-y with the International Mime Festival’s silent takeover. This is the last week of the festival’s programme, and we recommend Peeping Tom, a performance which combines surreal set design with crazy, bone-crunching physical endurance.
Late Night Clowning
Roll up, roll up.. to Circus Bar in Covent Garden. Is it a restaurant…? A bar…? A cabaret night? Well, it’s all of them, complete with overhead-trapeze artists. They’ll quite literally spin you out after a few cocktails.
Juggling exercise, work and a social life is tricky business. But don’t fret. The National Centre for Circus Arts are here to help with this balancing act – offering a range of short and long term courses, including aerial, acrobatic and circus fitness classes. Exercise, but made fun!
Yolk around at the Clown Club
Clowns have an unofficial rule that no two performers are allowed to have the same make-up. To ensure the clowns weren’t copying each other’s style, the tradition of painting their make-up designs onto an egg began. The Clowns Gallery-Museum is an eggstremely curious collection of these eggs, as well as costumes and props used by Britain’s most famous clowns. Usually open on the first Fry-day of each month, this weekend it will be open from 4.30pm on Sunday after the special Clown Service.
Dubbed London’s ‘most exclusive circus’, expect slapstick comedy, bearded ladies and dwarves in nappies, not to mention the odd fire-guzzler . The show mixes the glitz and glamour of burlesque with taboo-blasting performance – it gets very busy, so we reckon you should book ahead. And remember they really, really like to get their audience involved. Consider yourself challenged!
Find out more about the Grimaldi Service happening this Sunday.
By Justin McDonnell