This is the most traditional street show we have seen at Winchester and I glad we saw these boys. Goronwy Thom and Richard Garaghty performed some traditional tricks, juggling, unicycling and fire juggling but of course this was not the meat of the show. The meat came from the set up and the gags. The two playful men got distracted by almost everything that went on around them, leading to interaction with audience members and comments on activity going on around them. This resulted in several gorgeous images – on dressing a photographer up as ‘Where’s Wally’, creating a VIP section in the audience with red tape and all and a moment involving a policeman chasing one of the performers.The performers are open, genuine and seem to get real joy in creating moments and stories with audience members. They see a man walking a dog and we are in Winchester’s first dog show. They see an empty pushchair and all of a sudden there is a lost child, a situation they fixed by getting another child to sit there. They created an atmosphere in which anything can happen with us watching to see what they would pick on next. But this was not picking on the audience. They made them feel like stars of their own show. This created a feeling of real delight within the crowd and it seemed as though everyone would be happy to play, to jump at the chance of getting involved. This was demonstrated expertly when they wanted to create a photo with children and ended up being flocked by over 30 kids. It reminded me of the sheer joy of seeing a ‘Boy with Tape on his Face’ show, where the openness to the play of the crowd is palpable.The show may feel like anything could happen, but it is clear that these two men have great control over the action and an understanding of their relationship to each other. This could only be created through rehearsals and running show after show after show. Their mutual support is unquestionable as they accepted whatever the other threw at them, allowing us to relax and creating a safe zone for us to play within. Also a safe zone for them to play within and react to their surroundings. A magical moment happened when they started commenting on the neighbouring show…only at a festival.The gags were good and always got a laugh. The most successful gags came from self-deprecating themselves and the show and loving mockery of individuals in the crowd. I was a little disappointed when out came a lesbian gag. There were a couple of other dated jokes in the show and I thought this show was above that. Those gags can be hurtful and cause the audience to laugh at rather than with a fellow member. They can take away the play element and make it about judgment. I have to stress this only happened a couple of times however. Most of the audience did laugh but I would question whether the laughs made with love are better laughs.
These two men know their art. They know how to work an audience. It is a wonderful street show.