First look: Avalon from Giffords Circus

The big top is up at Fennells Farm and SoGlos got an invite to the opening night of Avalon from Giffords Circus, to get a first look at the spectacular new show...

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
As Giffords Circus starts its most ambitious tour yet, SoGlos got a first look at new show, Avalon, on opening night. Images © Rachel Louise Brown.

There was magic in the air at Fennells Farm, despite the rain, as Giffords Circus put on its first show of the year on Thursday 28 March 2024. 

Challenging itself to set the bar higher and higher with every new show, 2024 sees the cast and crew setting out on their longest tour ever, bringing the King Arthur-inspired Avalon to audiences across the country — and SoGlos had a seat in the audience on opening night. 

While the show is certainly inspired by Arthurian legends, it features a storyline all of its own, directed once again by Cal McCrystal, with James Keay and Tweedy the Clown as creative advisors — soundtracked with live music from its incredible Giffords Circus Band.

The show features some brand-new faces as well as returning favourites, with last year's leading lady, Nell O'Hara, taking centre stage as Queen Guinevere, alongside Nick Hodge as King Arthur. Nick shows off a breathtaking cyr wheel routine in the show, for his first time performing in the UK. 

Image © Rachel Louise Brown

With Tweedy stepping out of the ring this year, there's a new clown in town, with New York-based performer Tyler West making his Giffords Circus debut, after being spotted by Cal back in 2022 and immediately booked for the show. 

'Obsessed' with the circus since seeing Cirque du Soleil in the seventh grade, Tyler graduated as an actor in 2018 and has performed in everything from burlesque and variety shows to Shakespeare.

Playing Cuthbert, the trickster, in the show, Tyler works closely with returning magician Maximiliano Stia — who plays Merlin (of course) — to bring what he calls a 'Las Vegas flair' to the routines with plenty of physical clowning and layers and layers of storytelling, involving some impressive costume changes.

Image © Rachel Louise Brown

Tyler said: 'There's few other circuses that do what we do here. The thought that goes into the idea, the music, the story — it's a step above. Not many shows do this type of circus at this calibre.

'The costumes are ridiculously great, the dancing is great, the choreography, the acrobatics, the music is killer.'

His standout moment of the show?

'The Godfathers who close out the show are really special.'

Also in the cast are skating sensations Dylan and Asia Medini, playing Lancelot and Lady Morgan le Fay, with performances both with and without wheels; Morgan Ashley Barbour and Natalia Victoria Fernandez Ciprian playing the Damsels of the Ring, dazzling the audience with an adventurous aerial hoop routine; with canine capers from Patrick Harrison and Pip Ashley and their troupe of performing pups, too. 

Image © Rachel Louise Brown

There's no horsing around with the equestrian acts, either, with the show featuring two spectacular steeds, Llamarei and Hengroe, and a trio of prancing ponies who take it in turns to steal the spotlight each night, presented by expert trainer and performer, Latoya Donnert, who plays The Lady of Shalott.

Image © Rachel Louise Brown

The beautifully hand painted set is as much a character in the piece as the artistes, with Giffords' iconic red curtain being replaced with castle doors complete with portcullis for Avalon — and a special surprise in store for audiences, too. 

Giffords Circus is at its home on Fennells Farm in Stroud until Sunday 21 April 2024, when the show goes on the road and tickets are already selling out. 

Image © Rachel Louise Brown

For more information, see Giffords Circus tour in Gloucestershire

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