Scotch & Soda had the honour of christening my very first visit to the London Wonderground. Many times I have walked past that poor old purple inflatable cow sunbathing on the South Bank and wondered “Dude, where’s my invite?” I always dared myself to gatecrash.
Being a beautiful Saturday evening, Mr Sunshine could only enhance the London Wonderground’s magical circus festive buzz. With drinks flowing, food stinking and crowds building, we were told to roll up towards “Paradiso”. My expectations and eyebrows were immediately raised.
Meeting up with Jessica from Theatre Tourist, we were ushered into the circus arena. Sitting in – and I quote – the “Posh seats”, I felt slightly squashed. I’m not a huge fan of cramped spaces, but hey ho that’s part of the festival digs, right? The backdrop of mothballed, coffee stained curtains whisked me into this weird and wacky world. Observing the performers onstage playing cards and mucking around with their instruments, I couldn’t help but think of Olivier Twist’s Fagin and his gang.
It was a really interesting watch. The perfect synergy of two creative groups, Company 2 and the Crusty Suitcase band, who were able to shake music and stir in the notes within circus and performance (James Bond would be appalled!) Who knew that the power of jazz could coincide with the wonders of acrobatics?! I reminded my brain a few times to close my mouth and ban the use of “Woah”. Watching Chelsea McGuffin balance on champagne bottles as if she was Jesus walking on water, I think I was well within my right to use the word “Awesome” as well.
The tricks came thick and fast – on a trampoline, trapeze, a bicycle, seesaw and large wooden pole (you can tell I’ve researched this!) Also, there was a very entertaining, naughty cheeky wink moment…or should I say moments…where Mozes shows his pork sword, crown jewels, thirsty ferret, twinky dinky, purple parsnip, craning cyclop or in other words willy! Let the debate on whether it’s age appropriate for a 12 year old begin! However, I found it hilarious. In context of the performance, his character as the “Bush Stranger” was extremely entertaining, unknowing when he’s going to whip his bits out again.
The performers adopted characters and personas “from the historical worlds of circus and the Australian outback”. So we had characters such as Proud Pierre, Lady and Wintry, The Brothers Daevoud and Kid Lightning, The Bush Stranger, The Hobo, The Young Hope, Tango Hemmingway and Mendleson. Their “outlandish” behaviour and thought processes became justified as they revealed their strained or comical relationship with each other. It was amazing to watch the level of trust and unity onstage. Do you dare to applause a guy performing a handstand on a crumbling crate tower or a duo spinning from a rope around their necks? I would like to know who’s their first aider as I certainly had 999 on standby.
The acrobatic tricks and circus favourites fulfilled the 70 minute worthwhile drama. Jess and I agreed that the duration could be extended, but I understand the risk of miracles dying after an overloading high. At times, it did feel like I was watching the Britain’s Got Talent, waiting for Simon Cowell’s red X or David Walliams’ Golden Buzzer triggering a cheesy confetti explosion.
After the Scotch & Soda performance, I met up with Megan from West End Musings and Charlotte for a quick drink in the London Wonderground bar. The Scotch & Soda buzz continued to fester and we all shared the same thoughts that the performance was weirdly amazing. The complimentary Pimms drink also watered my dry mouth! So…I would recommend Scotch & Soda to those who are visiting the London South Bank as the performers deserve recognition for their talents. A ticket is the perfect add-on to begin a charming summer’s evening.