Lestival 2019 – Show Review
I had a lot of fun during the day getting involved in various workshops and silly passing patterns. The café provided good sustenance during the day (in the form of a cheese and pickle sandwich for Jenni and I). We went for a curry before the show and had the whole restaurant to ourselves, everyone else had gone to the chippy presumerably…
It looked like the show was about to begin but it actually turned into a query as to whether anyone in the audience might have a spare hat that could be used for the raffle. There followed an awkwardly quiet spell where some more raffle tickets were sold but no one felt comfortable speaking at full volume. It was the most respectful / sombre raffle ticket purchasing I have ever seen.
Finally, Mark Watson introduced himself as compere and got the evenings entertainments off to an excellent start. I was very impressed with how quickly and efficiently he killed off all the wannabee ducks in the audience, it was masterful. He opened up with a card trick which turned into some accountancy, it was very well received.
Cal Lawrie opened the show with a diabolo routine in the theme of ‘The Greatest Showman’. Great costume, excellent use of the hat, very show manny with lots of poses. I liked it a lot (it was Jenni’s favourite act and she isn’t normally into diabolo) it was just a shame some of the tricks didn’t come off, the curse of the stage. The music needed to be louder.
Mark tore a newspaper up on stage except that he didn’t really, lots of people were struggling with this but I thought he explained it thoroughly. He even said ‘I don’t ever really tear the newspaper’. It’s there in black and white.
Cai Lear performed his classic mix of shaker cups and balls. I was busy writing negatively about his headphones when he removed them and the music cut out. A clever mechanism for a music change, I enjoyed that a lot! The act is full of really hard but interesting patterns and tricks, made the better for the white silicone balls so you can at least try to follow their flight paths.
Callum Baker performed his new solo hoop juggling routine. I loved the slick costume. Jamie suggested a cummerbund and Jenni suggested gelled hair to finish the look. Callum looks ever so comfortable on stage, lots of audience interaction and applause points. The tricks are looking good and the choreography makes it a varied and interesting routine. I enjoyed it a lot.
There followed an interval. I would have preferred to have done the raffle before the show and then blasted through the show with fast paced high energy. The raffle was drawn from a box rather than the hat which had been procured earlier and it felt like all the tickets were yellow. Horny the Unicorn was considered by many to be the top prize. The Manchester Juggling Convention crew won their own free pass to the convention twice in a row.
Mark got out his handcuffs in the second half of the show and called up a couple of volunteers to padlock him. It was a shame that the lower section of stage had not been built up. I couldn’t see everything Mark was doing as it was at floor level with floor level seating. I agree that it might not have worked well if it had been performed on the main stage as there was such a gulf between the stage and the first rows of seating. It was still entertaining, but I would have liked a better view.
Claire Stephens-Davies performed her Hula Hoop routine. I am a fan of this routine, I like that its punky/rocky and has attitude, the tricks are good, it flows really nicely and there is a lot of audience interaction and posing in the first section. When the second hoop comes out some of the interaction is lost (the tricks are hard) so I would love to see a couple more poses/looks at the audience during this section. Great routine, banging tricks.
Dave Kelly was asked on the day if he would perform so I forgave him the brown T-shirt and brown balls combination. It is always quite tricky to see exactly what is going on with Dave’s tricks anyway, I feel that we should all club together and buy him some nice white beanbags so that we can better appreciate the ludicrousness. He proceeded to do some very silly things with tennis rackets mixed with ball juggling. I giggled quite a lot when he was starting the 5 ball pattern (on 2x rackets held in the hands) as he has a ridiculous multiplex start (which works most times!) to begin the pattern. It was fun.
Mark chose this moment to give out the thank you’s for the convention. I strongly approve this decision.
Daniel Simu closed the show with his ball juggling routine. Again, I was a little sad that he performed the first section at floor level as we didn’t get a good view, but again I understand the decision process. The juggling section of the act was performed on the main stage and was very nicely done. My Mum remarked that it was the best routine set to the music that she had seen. Strong close for the show.
The final bows were well rehearsed and smoothly done although some of the acts did look like they just wanted to get it over with. Cheers up guys, its nearly over!
I had another fun year at Lestival, I’d love to know what everyone else did during the day. 😊
Nice review Jon, cheers. I mostly played kendama, with added chatting to friends, Bungay flier distributing, (Hey everyone, come to Bungay!) running my crossword workshop for the first time, eating chips, and chatting to friends some more. Had a good time, thanks to #LestivalXII organisers!
Thanks, Jon's mum!
And yeah, a not ideal stage leads to not ideal choices. Thanks for coming to watch!
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