juggling with axes and other fun stuff

Most blog readers will know I enjoy using a well balanced axe, probably not many know I am also a keen juggler and have lots of friends who were profesional performers. I once rode my unicycle around the top of the world trade centre. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw a show advertised bringing together my loves of woodworking and circus skills.

TIMBER is the show, I went to the opening night last Wednesday and it did not disappoint. Circue Alfonse are a family troupe from Quebec and most of the props are woodworking tools found in the old barns at their home.

There are three generations involved from the 66 year old grandfather to 2 yr old grandson.

here are the rest of the crew doing their thing, its fast furious fun

Now for a bit of juggling geekery, juggling with axes may sound and look cool but actually it’s pretty easy so long as you have well balanced axes. The juggling was OK but very basic group passing of the type that goes on at any juggling club. I was a bit worried that they were wearing gloves, presumably something some dumb H&S person had made them do thinking it would be safer. If you are not a juggling geek, it will just look very impressive and you’ll go wow, it’s a good part of the show, but it’s not on a par say with Archaos juggling running chainsaws or the sort of multiple club passing that I am used to seeing.

The more impressive bits to me were the acrobatics and balancing, again it was not top flight circus level but it was well done and fun, two guys holding a wooden pole whilst another guy jumps up on to it then does a backflip landing back on the pole, pretty impressive. There was a very good routine playing around with a big wagon wheel.

Forestry tool wise, there were the small hatchets for juggling and a big cross cut saw, they introduced this by sawing off the end of a log to show it was sharp, they ran through at a fair speed too. I’d have loved to see some full size axes and some proper wood chopping mixed in to the act, the sort of thing where folk race chopping through logs at all the timber shows, pole climbing would have fitted in well too.

The best bits of the show though were the way the narrative ran, circus can be a bit of a series of people doing stand a lone acts and this flowed really well, partly because the timber theme ran through everything and it was just about plausible as a logging camp and partly and surprisingly because of the absolutely superb music. We might have expected a bit of country banjo or maybe cajun, we got the banjo and guitar but also fantastic Dick Dale style surf guitar mixed in and driving it with footstomping for bass drum. I had a great evening and would happily recommend it.

It’s only on to 31st July so if you want to see it best book soon tickets here.

There is a really nice BBC interview with the family here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23270819

It’s not a long show, just 90 mins with no interval so you’ll need something else to fill your evening, I always enjoy hanging out watching the skateboarders under the southbank centre

and we did dinner at Wahaca, great mexican food, overlooking the Thames £20 for two, before we started on the beer and super smooth tequila.

and finally simply because I can’t imagine another blog post where I will be able to share it, this is what really amazing juggling looks like, in some ways Alexander Koblikov makes it look too easy but stepping up from 3 balls to 5 is generally when you start to say “I am a juggler” rather than “I can juggle” it is typically several months hard practice every day to get to 5 balls. I have only known a handful of jugglers that are totally comfortable with 7 stepping up from there to 9 or ten is simply incredible but then to mix that level of technical ability with the mime in this routine just bonkers. Just try “walking” onto stage like this for a start.

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One Response to juggling with axes and other fun stuff

  1. Harry July 15, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Robin – sounds great and I love Wahaca – just finished reading 'The Wooden Bowl' on holiday – very enjoyable. Harry (Mr Windsorchair on Youtube).

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