I’ve never been the most acrobatic of Blondes. By the age of thirteen my limbs were already outstripping my nervous system, and my favourite part of school gymnastics was that bit at the end of a manoeuvre (my repertoire is forward, backward or teddy roll) where you stand up, curve your back, and snap your arms over your head – ‘finished!’ I can roll, and I can finish. That’s about it.
Forget novels and enlightenment and stuff – my vaulting ambition is still basically to do a cartwheel. A cartwheel, for God’s sake.
But I love watching FIMO-bodied flippers and flexers, and now that I’m a Bikram convert I carry a tiny, nut-hard conviction deep in my belly that it’s only a matter of months before I overthrow my mind-forg’d manacles and blossom into a Darcey Bussell-Madonna hybrid; so Saturday’s trip to Giffords Circus was an all-round happy thing.
This year’s show centres on Yasmine Smart, legendary circus horse trainer and rider, with all the equine loveliness that implies, from round, bouncing dappled grey ponies to haughtily rearing Arabs. Yasmine: A Musical is possibly less satisfying than last year’s Caravan – the storytelling is confusing and the narrative hook feels arbitrary at best – but it’s deceptively naive magic can’t help but seduce romantics of all ages. Gabor Vosteen is outstanding, both for his five-recorder Mozart routine and for the slapstick charisma marinated into every inch of his shock-haired, preying-mantis frame. The show really takes off when, as with Vosteen, the acting matches the atmosphere.
In a year, I thought, stroking my seedling biceps carefully highlighted with fake tan, I shall run away with you. And I shall do a cartwheel, on a horse, doing a cartwheel. In a forest-green gown. And a hat.
Just you wait.