A magnificent celebration of circus arts from the UK Youth Circus Network, an organisation that has brought together 150 young people and their tutors from the four corners of the country to share skills and ideas, is on display at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Circus Cavalcade.
The cacophony of noise that greets you as you walk through the idyllic surroundings is testament to the popularity of traditional circus skills with young children. From tiny toddlers to pre-teens the Inverleith House lawn is teaming with life. There were diablos, balls and colourful scarves for juggling, plates for spinning and Pedal-Gos (a kind of pre-unicycle for children) strewn across the grass, the remnants of the free circus skills workshop which precedes the performance.
The Cavalcade was the culmination of the morning's activities and a chance for the Circus Network members to display their considerable and inspiring skills. They burst onto the stage in a flurry of vibrant energy and colour, instantly capturing the young audience's attention. There was a bit of cheeky, good-natured banter exchanged and enough opportunities for participation to keep everyone enthralled throughout. We were treated to some physical clowning skills, juggling, diabolo skills, ball walking and some elegant, Cirque du Soleil inspired trapeze and silk work from the youthful performers. The slapstick, as expected, generates the biggest response from the children, but it is the trapeze work which utterly mesmerises: from tiny babies in prams to the twelve year olds, they watch almost hypnotised as the performers go through their paces. My one gripe would be the lack of amplification for the performance which meant that much of the chat was lost to all but the very front of the audience.
Most Fringe acts would kill for an audience this vast. On seeing the reactions of the onlookers and the promise from the company of a different performance each day, I don't doubt many will return for more. An inspiring and uplifting event for all the family.