The good bit of this weekend I spent in Stockton, lots of it at the
International Riverside Festival. A sort of fest of street and fiesta
performance, with acts from all over the world and an audience from all over
Teeside, folk from Thornaby, Norton, Bilingham,and even a few brave souls from
Yarm made the trip.
I had a great time watching cabaret style stuff at Patti free and big spectacle
shows at the riverside. There were lots of unis about too. On stage at Patti
free compare Lee Hayes ( with out using his uni) kept the crowd happy with
juggly gags inbetween such acts as Skatenaked ( just like they are in renagade
at BJC) Microband ( music to laugh with) and pryomania ( think cosmos jugglers
with fibre optic light string) . Then there were the uni acts, Ulik showed off
his collection of noisey toys, I spotted the uni hub pretty smartish but the
unis eventually appearence in a puff of smoke and a bang was a nice suprize.
My fave however was Joey Joey, an american sword swallower and unicyclist with a
comic talent. We were treated to a display of uniing from a around the globe,
bronx, german, oz ( yes a kangeroo) , San Francisco ( so it is possible to mince
on a uni) etc, he wimped out of uni UK style on stage, something to do with a UK
crowd I think. Afterward however Joey showed himself to be quite at home on a
Big wheel off road so I think he can uni UK style OK. Some wet wheel walking (
roger, rocket and I cheered like crazy, no one else did ??) , tight slalom and a
confident piggy back ride rounded off his afternoon act. In the evening Joeys
finale was his own unique seling point, who else skips ( jumprope) on a uni with
a 14 inch sword down their throat…! I was impressed, the man is clarly mad,
brave and very good at what he does.
Other high lights of the fest for me were the giant human mobile hung from a
crane and the fantastic show “Hello Mr Jo” from the Compagnie Jo Bithumea feast
of stilts, fireworks, ariel skills and huge set pieces , lots of humour and not
a little pathos in the whistle stop story of Mr Jo from birth to death. Catch it
if you can at a fest near you.