Bubbly babies have fun at the circus

2010-10-18 09:58

Stuffed with pancakes and other treats, children fill the air with a clamour of cries and loud laughter as members of the Brian Boswell Circus swing into their routines in Hatfield, east of Pretoria.

The Boswell tent of clowns and other curiosities sits like a grungy mound on the corner of Church and End streets – a red dusted blue and white marquee with a makeshift kraal for their elephants, ponies, pigs and other animals by its side. They can easily be confused with an evangelical lot without the sign that announces them and their performing pets.

The circus is in the administrative capital city till the end of October and a troop of housewives and nannies have been dragged along by their joyous and jittery children to see the show.

Those who booked their sits by phone between 10am and 7.30pm parted with R80 or R120 for their reserved seats.

Otherwise, tickets generally cost R60 for unreserved seats.

After the drum roll, the show is opened by Georgina Boswell and her apprentice, with two tigers and a lioness. She puts them through their paces as they jump on and off steel benches. She cracks her whip to urge them on and rewards them with pieces of meat for their trouble.

Her act is followed by two members of the Chinese State Circus who are part of her troop. They share a plate-juggling act wearing a chef’s uniform.

The two also form part of a larger line-up “six guys” that also do daring acrobatics. Their kung fu-like moves found a keen fan in seven-year-old Mpho Dikobe, who towed his father, Sidwell, to the dusty site.

“They are like ninjas,” he declares and strikes a kung fu pose of his own. His father, eager to have it done with, steers him into the car with a sigh, “esh bra what can I say, he is the boss”, Sidwell says then giggles.

Other parents have harder bosses to contend with.

During interval every joyous rascal under the age of five lines up for their turn to ride one of the ponies.

This time, enthusiasm turns into terror for the jolly riders once their parents and minders leave them to their own devices in the care of clowns and others who usher them around the arena.

Perhaps here the primal fear transforms the lovely image of the clowns into some horrific Beetlejuice (evil clown) persona. But this red-nosed terror is, after all, also a way of beating away the suburban boredom.

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