Reinvented festival brings the buskers back

Reinvented festival is full of 'surprises'

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2014
Nate Cooper
JOSEPH JOHNSON/Fairfax NZ
CLASS ACT: Performer Nate Cooper, who can juggle machetes while wearing roller skates and bouncing on a pogo stick, is in Christchurch for the World Buskers Festival.

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A tale of Shakespearean bastards, open air bingo and a man on a pogo stick juggling machetes. It can only mean one thing - the return of the World Buskers Festival to Christchurch.

The festival opens with evening shows tomorrow and street performances on Friday. Dozens of performers from around the world are converging on Christchurch for 600 performances over 11 days.

The street performers will take to three stages in North Hagley Park and two pitches in the Re:Start mall, while the evening shows will be held in two large tents in the park, the Mashina Lounge at the Christchurch Casino and and the Gap Filler Pallet Pavilion.

Highlights include the return of Canterbury performer Sam Wills' global hit show The Boy with Tape on his Face, singing diva Le Gateau Chocolat, outrageous comedy duo Daredevil Chicken Club and Keith Preene's Golden Goose Bingo in the Pallet Pavilion. New shows include Michele A'Court's one woman show Stuff I Forgot to Tell my Daughter, local performer David Ladderman's Shakespeare-inspired comedy show Battle of the Bastards and Lili la Scala's Songs to Make you Smile.

Festival director Jodi Wright said the festival had developed to include more fringe and burlesque shows.

"It has been really interesting as the festival grows it has pulled fringe and street performers together," she said.

"I like to reinvent the festival every year and introduce new things. I like to throw in some surprises. It's my challenge to keep it fresh and interesting."

Burlesque, which was first introduced at the festival in 2011, has slowly grown and developed in Christchurch, she said. This year, former Cirque de Soleil performer Nate Cooper, boylesque star Captain Kidd and Australian performance artist Imogen Kelly make up the burlesque bill.

"Burlesque is very popular. It has grown worldwide. We have quite a few popular and famous burlesque performers here this year.

"But the core of our festival has always been street performers, the pull is still street performers. More people see street performers than the evening shows."

Wright said it was worth bringing back British singer Le Gateau Chocolat as many people missed out on tickets last year.

"When we bring a show out like Gateau Chocolat - the first four or five nights are very slow.

"But once the review came out we were turning people away. He is worth bringing back. There were a lot people that wanted to see him and missed him."

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Wright said street performers to look out for included Derek Derek from the United States, Pancho Libre from Mexico and Dandyman from Australia.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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