There were the obligatory [I believe] juggling acts and trapeze artists... and much more showmanship than I had expected somehow. Glittering costumes and snazzy, choreographed little snippets of dance, set the whole thing off nicely, and yet the crowd around me seemed a little less than rapturous with their applause.
Suddenly I realised something. Probably not one of us in the audience, myself included, could have performed any of those acts with even the tiniest shred of competence and yet we were not astounded, thrilled and amazed as we should have been. Why? Because TV has jaded us. Clever camera angles, close-ups and edited footage ensure that on TV shows, we see only the best bits, that the magician's slight-of-hand thoroughly fools us, or that when the man juggling nine balls drops one, it's carefully cut out of the final show.
But last night we saw it all, and I have to say that it was the occasional mistake that truly made it for me. It was this which made me realise how difficult these acts were to actually perform, how much practise and showmanship went into everything and how strong and professional the performers were.
And then came the finale: a man running outside of a giant hamster-type wheel which was catapulted to the ceiling of the big top and then to the ground again, whilst he ran the gauntlet, trying to keep pace and balance as the wheel was constantly turned out from under his feet.
Several times he almost fell, stumbled then regained his footing only to stumble once more, making me raise both hands to my mouth in fear for his safety. So when he opted next to do it blindfolded I was actually saying aloud, "Don't do it! Don't do it!" in a kind of mantra.
But he did, and he stumbled and lost his balance and fell... just managing to wrap an arm around a piece of equipment on his way down and swing himself safely back inside the ball in the nick of time. My heart was racing and adrenaline was pumping. It was terrifying!
So overall what do I think? Well TV you can keep your phoney edited stuff for yourself... I like the real thing so much better.
Happy Reading! x