My thanks to Curzon who knew better than to pay a visit to Gifford's Circus do War and Peace and not come back with a report and pictures....
On Marlborough Common stood this sign, but in fact all that was needed to be transported to 19c Russia was to pass through the doors into the tent, where the clown Tweedy morphed into the Russian soldier Tikhon, acting as the MC and link between scenes from the book and the interspliced circus acts. The War and Peace action was reduced to the Rostov family, and how the war against France affected them: Prince Andrei, Pierre, Helene and Napoleon were mere walk-on parts. Around the tent were hung canvases on which were sketches and also quotes from the book, and there was a band, mostly brass and percussion, with keyboards.
Nell read English literature at New College, Oxford. She is a published author: of “Josser”, about her life in the circus, and also a biography of Phillip Astley, inventor of the circus. “Red” is a 9-year-old Welsh cob who has enjoyed a season’s hunting.
In the interval, I accidentally turned my camera from ‘colour’ to ‘colour accent’ and so the rest of my photos are, in effect, black and white. Here’s the death of Petya; his loose mount walked slowly forward and dropped its head over Petya’s inert body. I hope you can see the snow falling.
It was a hugely enjoyable performance loosely based on War and Peace and even the small children seemed to love every minute. Gifford’s Circus is enchanting and well worth attending when they come to your part of the country.