When: 10th June 2011 (part of the Postcards Festival which is on until the end of July)
Where: Jacksons Lane, 269a Archway Road, London, N6 5AA
£: 10 per event or 35 for a festival ticket
What was it?
One of the few London venues dedicated to visually led and physical work, this year Jacksons Lane celebrates 35 years in North London. For the last three of these, the venue has developed a vibrant programme of contemporary circus and visual theatre, offering support to some 40 companies, specialising in the small to mid scale. Postcards gives a platform to both and new and established circus and performance artists to create new work, with scratch, solo and short performances. The Postcards Late Night Cabaret was organised to give a chance to sample some of what the festival has to offer.
The evening began with some French songs performed by a lady with a squeezebox before we were introduced to the self-appointed Queen Francesca I, also known as performer Francesca Martello. She did a great job of leading us peasants/pheasants to the different performances happening around the venue as well as adding some light-hearted comedy to the proceedings. Although Francesca should be used to clowning and will appearing in her new show Sera as part of the Postcards Festival.
As well as performers wandering around, mingling with us peasants, there were eclectic acts singing, juggling and generally clowning around. These included a drunk clown who spat beer and sang the amusing Make Excuses for Me I’m an Artist, and a cabaret act dressed in a modest 50s dress with broken glasses who after finding several pairs of new glasses amongst her person, left the stage a little less modestly! Marawa the Amazing, also featuring in her own show in the festival, managed to turn the humble hoola-hoop into a dazzling and vibrant circus act. Oh and not forgetting the skills of one act juggling and performing with a bottle of wine, as a person who usually just drinks the stuff I was impressed.
After being lead to the studio upstairs by Queen Francesca I, we watched some comic juggling and clowning around followed later by some theatrical and aerial pieces in the theatre space. One of the aerial acts, Collectif and Then, managed to turn an aerial circus act into an improv comedy show. Using members of the audience to pick out a trick to do and a style to perform it in provided a unique spin on the usual circus stunts. There was also a charming ‘clumsy’ trapeze artist and another comic juggling act with one of the juggling clubs needing some resuscitation!
As a taster of what the festival, and the theatre generally, has to offer it certainly provided plenty of delights, thrills and laughter. The night had a great relaxed festival feeling to it and I’ll be heading back to catch some more of the Postcards Festival.