Friday, 23 January 2015

Day 23: Welcome to the Circus!

Tonight is about celebrating Y's birthday and she's booked a table for sixteen at Circus in Covent Garden. I have not been there before I don't really have any expectations, but I suspect there'd be some sort of trapeze type act, or juggling element to the evening. As the day wears on, it transpires that the people who'd previously booked on the performance table bailed out and the restaurant call to ask if we'd like to be upgraded to sit at the top table, this means we're going to be a little bit more part of the show.

We arrive and find our table is actually a smooth runway, a little wider than usual, with steps leading up to the centre area. We settle down and get some drinks we are told to not use our camera flashes (as if I would) and make sure we don't put things on the table when asked. A sign is projected on the centre of the table urging us to sit back and hold our drinks, lights dim, the music starts and the performance begins. The first dancer leaps onto the table wearing an intriguing bikini, with eyes and mouth and teeth. She grabs some hula hoops which she then lights and twirls around the body, her arms, throws in the air and all over the place in a wonderful colourful display. After this first act, she climbs down off the runway and our starters materialise. We're having a Pan-Asian sharing banquet with salt and pepper squid, crackers, sushi and edame beans etcetera.

After a bit of a jiggle with the girls, the man breaks off and grabs the hoop suspended from the ceiling, and starts twirling around above our awe-inspired heads. Clearly, he loves playing to the audience, ripping off his top and after flirting with one of our group, he then proceeds to give another one of the men a lapdance. He followed this by grabbing a mobile phone from his girlfriend, and apparently shooting down the front of his trousers. The resulting picture is a bit of a mystery, luckily! After a possible "pelfie", he leaps back onto his ring again and pirouettes and twists above our heads. When he's finished, the lights come up again and we immediately being assailed by our main course arriving. We start tucking into some amazing fillet of beef with chargrilled asparagus, teriyaki salmon and for those not so averse, jasmine rice and yellow curry with tomatoes.

When our dishes are whipped away, the next leopard-print clad performers ascend and one zooms in front of us on a mini motorbike. Then casting that aside, she grabs some torches and starts fire eating. When she has completed the usual routine of swallowing a seemingly excessive number of flames, she raises the stakes, by removing her brain top (whilst still breathing fire, I hasten to add) and igniting her nipple tassels. Who knew that was about to happen? Luckily she was able to spin the fiery tails around without singeing herself or any of our party. Okay, now time for dessert.

After some refreshing cheesecake the final act storms the stage. It appears that two athletic boxers are about to duke it out, though without gloves so bare knuckle or maybe just a wrestle. After a few tussles, the acrobatics start. The smaller of the two climbs onto the shoulder of the larger and balances there somehow, all mere inches from us. Looking like a curious four legged man! Then it's round two and the larger acrobat lies down, bends his knees and the smaller acrobat lies across his shins. It doesn't look comfortable but damn impressive.

After a couple more rounds the shorter 'fighter' shows his dominance by balancing on the other's head by his hand. The focus of the face of the larger man is compelling and the smaller guy strikes the poses above his head. In the final moments the victor finalises his knockout and the 'curtains' fall. We'd been primed to leap up and applaud and then we'd be transferred to another table at the bar. But we didn't have a moment before we were swept away and our table was pushed against where the kitchen serving hatch had been. Without seconds eager guests were clamouring to climb up and dance the night away.

I hope Y enjoyed her birthday party, I can vouch that this guest did. And I enjoyed the photographic challenge too.

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