Bullzini Family Ropewalking Show 'Time for Tea' < Review
For days I’ve been longingly peering over the small fence to where the delicately painted Bullzini Family wagon and tightwire rig are set, and today I’m in time to catch their show. I’m delighted when Phoebe Bullzini (aka Phoebe Baker) invites me into their compound, offering Earl Grey tea (with lemon, of course) from a wooden table, set with fine bone china and copper kettles. Dressed in a lacy blue frock that hearkens back to Victorian music hall costumes, and complements the travelling wagon perfectly, Miss Phoebe also provides her guests with vintage photo albums to peruse, filled with images of funambulists from days gone by.
An old piano seems to be playing in the distance, and moustachio’d Christopher Bullzini appears in a dress-shirt and cravat. The two mount their wire from opposite ends, crossing towards each other with the long balance poles seen so often in old photographs, and usually associated with much higher walks. They look trustingly into each other’s eyes rather than focussing blankly into space, and their relationship is established before a word is spoken.
The chest-height wire keeps all the action easily within our sight-lines, and allows for members of the audience to become part of the tale – saving the day, as Miss Baker faces the danger in aptly historical melodramatic style. (It’s only later that I start to wonder if the ‘Baker’ connection is in fact a genuine family tie.)
For the next educative account, Christopher becomes both the infamous Blondin, and competitive rival Farini, while Phoebe narrates. In a duel of one-upmanship, the tricks build through blindfolds, tea and chair balances, and I especially enjoy the forward rolls over the wire as dramatic portrayal of the feud.
This is a storytelling show at its heart, where the past and future blur together, reminding us that we are all a product of what’s come before.
Time for Tea is a genteel vignette of funambulist history.
THE CIRCUS DIARIES http://thecircusdiaries.com/
The Bullzini Family are also able to come to your event or festival and teach children and adults of all ages to walk on wires and ropes tight and slack. We also have a lower 20 minute tightrope and storytelling show based on classic tales form the golden age of ropewalking.