Revel Puck Circus – The Wing Scuffle Spectacular – Review – ★★★★★
A winning and inspiring circus show that combines its fair share of spectacle with tons of heart and buckets of joy.
Infectious enthusiasm and awesome acrobatic skills – as well as beautiful clowning – combine to send shivers down the spine in this magnificent 60-minute circus show from The Revel Puck Circus company.
We ventured out to the hitherto unknown (to us) Leyton Jubilee Park – a short bus journey from Dalston Junction, or a 20 minute walk from Leyton station – and got more than we bargained for with this amazing show. Having recently enjoyed the latest classy circus show from Giffords, our bar was set pretty high – and though we fully expected Revel Puck’s Wing Scuffle Spectacular to be a more rambunctious affair, we weren’t prepared for the fizz, fun, and warm-hearted frolics that would leave us buzzing.
The Wing Scuffle Spectacular is, notionally, a ‘celebration of fear’ – but this is no circus of horrors. Rather, the emphasis is on exploring what circus normally tries to hide: the rough edges, the failed attempts and do-over’s, the striving for improvement. At a time when we’ve all had to live with plenty of fear for the last 18 months, Revel Puck’s set out to give us some much needed escapism whilst pushing the boundaries of human ability with some imaginative routines of physical endeavour.
Fiona Thornhill’s work on the Cyr wheel threatens to blow the roof off the big top early on – after some (actually) funny pre-amble, she spins dizzyingly and deserves the first massive round of applause of the night. Later, Annie Zita rides the cloud swing to the very extreme heights of the tent, launching herself into a series of jaw-dropping leaps and rolls.
Certainly the biggest rola bola we’ve ever seen takes some taming from pretty much the whole crew, but with perseverance and plenty of audience encouragement, the pay-off is a staggering moment of balance and strength.
And between these big-scale showstoppers, clown Sam Goodburn expertly holds the crowd in the palm of his hand, whilst unicycling his way to an unlikely romance with a rapidly growing lion!
Maybe our two favourite moments of the show are Poppy Plowman’s so-good-she-makes-it-look-easy dance on a tightrope, and Luke Hallgarten’s transgressive juggling act (set to the irresistible strains of RuPaul’s ‘Sissy That Walk’). The former perhaps catches the audience off-guard, so confidently and faultlessly performed that one might assume that anyone could do it. The latter – regardless of a few dropped clubs – rides the wave of unbridled joy and excitement that the whole show has engendered, finishing with some dance-like-no-one-is-watching euphoria.