Come one, come all!
The Freak Circus is back in town…
The Freak Circus presents Broken Hearts
Woodland Creatures, Leith
Thursday 25th February 2016
I first encountered the Freak Circus back in November, when they launched their crowdfunded book-a-zine of peculiar poetry and fiendish fiction. An experience unlike any other, I was left astounded by the art of spoken word and vowed to visit the freaks again. Lo and behold, the circus rolled back into town with a brand new issue in February and I simply had to be there.
Downsizing from The Bongo Club, this showcase was held in Woodland Creatures on Leith Walk. A quaint little bar with a stage nestled in the back, the freaks underestimated their popularity as it became a packed standing room only. Through a forest of rope trees and fairy lights, the stage hosted a solitary microphone awaiting the night’s first performer.
Emily Elver, co-founder of the circus, took the honour of opening proceedings with an ode to Donald Trump. Setting the tongue-in-cheek tone for the evening ahead, some performers took the ‘Broken Hearts’ theme more literally than others. The line-up featured some familiar faces, as well as some new acts, such as Elver’s successor to the stage, Lewis Brown.
Brown maintained the humour of the night with a computerised tale of small talk, featuring 404 errors and reboots. Witty and original, the crowd could relate to the painstaking programming engaging with strangers takes. Lloyd Robinson followed with a more somber take on the night’s theme, dedicating a heartfelt poem to his wife.
Suky Goodfellow captured the audience’s attention with her magical poetry box that suspiciously resembled a Clarks shoebox… For other acts, props were limited to notepads and scraps of paper with moments of creativity (and madness) jotted on them. A personal favourite was the cover of poetry veteran Alec Beattie’s notepad: ‘she broke ma heart… so ah broke her windaes.’ Truly poetic.
There was no shortage of Glaswegian slang, as Liam McCormick recited tales of what it’s like to grow up in the city, with dreams of becoming Batman crushed by bigots. Colin McGuire embodied the more freakish nature of the circus with laments to washing machines and fascist salads, commanding the stage with exuberant energy. Sindigo, the show stealing act from the launch night in November, made a triumphant return to the stage with side-splitting anecdotes and a range of voices in her arsenal.
The musical interlude for the night came from Josephine Sillars and Band (or Sam, as he’s more commonly known). The duo transfixed the audience for a brief set, with a delicate rendition of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” and a few original songs, keeping the broken hearted theme going for the evening.
Max Scratchmann, the remaining founder of the circus, brought the night to a close with a fitting eulogy to his late father, exemplifying that heartbreak can manifest itself in many forms. Whether it’s through the death of a relative, the loss of a partner or unrequited love, it’s how we choose to deal with our broken hearts that defines us.
Pictures courtesy of Freak Circus Facebook