21 Apr 2017

Gandey's Circus - What You Need to Know

Gandey's Circus is currently touring the UK! You may have already seen it on our tour, or perhaps you've seen the posters or heard the Ringmaster Binky on the radio.



How much do you actually know about Gandey's Circus, though?

What is it?


An all-human spectacular thrill circus! The award-winning show features an array of nearly 30 international artistes.

Bringing together world-class performers, new and innovative presentation techniques and unparalleled sound, lighting and costumes, all staged within a state-of-the-art Big Top – Gandey’s is now firmly established as the UK’s premier touring circus.


Where does it come from?


Gandey’s Comedy Circus sprang into life at the turn of the 20th century. Conceived by founder Bob Gandey (1894 – 1953), it started out as a touring revue-style stage presentation.

The show played in all the top theatres across the country, as well as many smaller venues. It quickly found success with a Western theme. Bob Gandey, his wife Rose and young son Joe were the star acts, performing with cowboy whips, rope spinning, an educated pony and stubborn mules.

With the theatre circuit slowing, Bob decided it was time for a different approach. With a change of name and a brand new Big Top, Gandey’s Circus proudly hit the road for its debut tour in 1943.

Joe, along with his wife Mary, carried the Gandey baton after Bob’s death. They firmly established Gandey’s as a small, intimate family show, with a reputation for quality and value for money. Everybody keenly anticipated the annual visit of ‘Uncle Joe’ – his circus was the highlight of the year for thousands of children, from Birmingham to Preston. Joe Gandey’s honest, reasonably-priced and entertaining show was a major influence on the way the circus is run today.

The reins of Gandey’s Circus passed to Phillip Gandey after Joe’s death in 1973. At just 17 years of age, Phillip was Britain’s youngest ever circus director. Phillip’s marriage to Carol, coupled with boundless support from a loyal team, helped to produce a show which has grown ever since.


Who are they?


This year’s incredible array of international award-winning artistes include…

Rocket Man ‘Pablo Garcia’ and his wife, performing high up in the roof of the 2,000 seater Theatre Big Top, direct from Germany.



The beautiful Duo Bella from Cuba, performing a unique hair hanging aerial ballet above the audience.

Duo Siffolini from Bulgaria, performing awe-inspiring feats on the Giant Wheel of Death.



The Serik Brothers from Kazakhstan on the acrobatic aerial straps.

The Tangier Troupe from Morocco – seven acrobatic sons of the desert.

Las Chicas Morales from Central America on the Rolling Globes, an act unique in Europe.



The Emilia Sisters from the Caribbean with an incredible display of gymnastics and dexterity on the vertical poles.

Royalle’s Showgirls will be supporting the acts with stunningly choreographed dance routines, combined with amazing lighting effects and a pulsating beat under the watchful eye of Gandeys' Ringmaster – the enigmatic Mr Binky Beaumont!

And not forgetting... Europe’s favourite clown Chico Rico!


Where are they?


The show is currently running at The Big Heath in Knutsford, before moving on to Isle of Man, Leigh, Guernsey and Jersey.

The tour dates can be found here.




7 Apr 2017

The Chinese State Circus - What You Need to Know

The Chinese State Circus is currently touring the UK! You may already know this from our social media, or maybe you have seen and heard about it locally if it's heading to your area. You may even have caught the stars with Andi Peters on Good Morning Britain last week!


How much do you actually know about the Chinese State Circus, though? 

We decided to give you a rundown of everything you need to know, in bite-sized chunks!


What is it?


The Chinese State circus is currently touring with a new production - 'Dynasty'. The show brings an art form that has thrilled audiences for more than 2,000 years into a contemporary setting. It tranforms low-tech everyday objects into hi-tech acrobatic equipment. Hurtling porcelain jars...dynamically spinning plates...balancing upon gigantic pyramids of tables and chairs framed by the delicate strands of silk supporting cascading aerialists.



Where does it come from?


China!

That's the short answer. But really, this is a question with two answers...

In modern terms, the Chinese State Circus was an idea started back in the '90s, after directors Carol and Phillip Gandey witnessed a group of Oriental acrobats performing at the Monte Carlo Circus Festival. They were astounded at the quality, depth and sheer diversity of the troupes. The Chinese State Circus was born that day.

Historically, however, Chinese acrobatics is an art form that stretches back for more than 2,000 years, with historical records and ancient carvings displaying the existence of the discipline during the period of the Warring States (475 - 221BC)!


Who are they?


The show is comprised of 30 world-class Chinese acrobats, aerial artistes, and jugglers, who interact with the super-human physical skills and dexterity of the masters of martial arts.

Just some of the acts you can witness during the show are:

The Lion Dance 




The Oriental Swan 


Hat Juggling


The Shaolin Warriors



You can see all of the above at the show, plus much, much more.


Where can I see them?


The show is currently running at Chantry Park in Ipswich, before moving on to Norwich, Orsett, Chingford, Evesham, Birmingham and Shrewsbury. There are more destinations being added all the time though, so be sure to keep an eye on the website.

The list of venues can be found here.




1 Apr 2017

6 of our favourite April Fools' Day pranks

We've all been caught out by April Fools' Day pranks before. Whether it's a sibling putting your clock forward to make you think you're late for school, a tabloid newspaper publishing a story about Queen Elizabeth II being spotted in Poundland, or a simple whoopee cushion on your chair - we have all been tricked at least once.



As we all know, April Fools' Day falls upon April 1st every year, when you have free reign to play jokes and let out your mischievous side, branding anybody who succumbs to your tricks an 'April fool' ... at least until midday, after which you invariably become the 'fool' yourself.

But do you know where April Fools' Day originated? 

If your answer to that question is 'no', then you're not alone. Nobody really knows! There are many theories, some more plausible than others, but there isn't a general consensus on which theory happens to be true.



One popular belief is that it began with Pope Gregory XIII, who first adopted the Gregorian calendar. The new calendar moved the beginning of the year back a few months to January 1st. Whilst the changes were well publicised, there were still those who hadn't heard and proceeded to celebrate the new year on April 1st - earning themselves widespread ridicule and thus earning April Fools' Day a permanent place on our calendars.

Whether you believe that theory or not, there's not denying that April Fools' Day brings some much-needed mirth into our lives. It's a tradition long upheld by newspapers and the media, and has become a regular event on the internet, with the biggest and best-known brands getting involved in the fun.

Here are some of our favourite April Fools' pranks from past years:

BBC - Spaghetti Harvest - 1957




This one is a classic in its own right. The BBC's popular show Panorama released a broadcast showing a family in Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from trees. It resulted in hundreds of viewers phoning in to find out how they could grow their own spaghetti trees!

Waitrose - Pinanas - 2009



Waitrose shoppers may have been temporarily baffled in 2009, although we imagine these pinanas would have been a nightmare to peel.

Burger King - Flame-Grilled Fragrance - 2015



We think even the most loyal Burger King fans would be hesitant to wear to the new perfume that was announced in Japan.

Sweden - Colour TV - 1962



There was only one TV channel in Sweden in 1962, and it was in black-and-white. On April 1st, the station's 'technical expert', Kjell Stenson, told viewers how to see colour images on their television sets - by simply covering the screen with a pair of stockings! The prank was a great success, with thousands of viewers searching their house for a spare pair of tights.

Tesco - Bouncy Aisles - 2015



In 2015, Tesco came up with a trampoline-based solution for those who can't reach the top shelves.

Marmite - Clear Marmite - 2015



In a joke that you'll either love or hate - Marmite announced a new product range in 2015.


We're looking forward to seeing what pranks, jokes and spoofs everyone has in store this year!

What is your favourite April Fools' Day prank?



24 Mar 2017

Red Nose Day 2017



It's Red Nose Day today – a day when lovely charitable people across the UK cast their inhibitions aside, pop on a big red nose and fundraise in imaginative wacky and wonderful ways! 

Red Nose Day is organised by Comic Relief and occurs every two years. The 'red nose' in the name is inspired by the traditional red noses of clowns, of course, so we can be forgiven for thinking of our very own Chico Rico whenever we hear the words!



Lots of celebrities normally get involved in the fundraising, with the BBC hosting a widely-anticipated evening of comedy sketches and antics, interspersed with the touching real life footage of those less fortunate, which reminds us why fundraising is so important.

It's a great cause, with Comic Relief having raised over £1bn since its launch in 1988!

So what highlights can we expect to grace our TVs tonight?



James Corden's Car Pool Karaoke special – Take That are in LA with The Late Late Show host for a very special sing-a-long.

Red Nose Day Actually – The cast of Love Actually reunite to find out what happened to the beloved characters 13 years after the original.

Peter Kay's Car Share – Exclusive first look at the second series of Peter Kay's sitcom.

Middle Class Jeremy Kyle – David Walliams pranks the loud-mouthed talk show host.

Hecklers Anonymous – Frankie Boyle, Rebecca Front and Russell Brand star in a sketch about a community support group for people addicted to heckling.

Graham Norton's Big Chat Live – The comedian supersizes his chat show with a ludicrously long sofa to be filled with more star guests than ever before.

And much more... 

It sounds like a great evening on the sofa with a takeaway to us! 

Have you been fundraising for Red Nose Day? Let us know in the comments!