World Buskers Festival 2014 line-up
The World Buskers Festival can launch performers to such heights that it is sometimes hard to lure them back.
The new line-up of evening shows for January's festival includes returning heroes and new shows.
Festival art director Jodi Wright has managed to bring back The Boy with Tape on his Face and favourites Daredevil Chicken Club, despite the two acts going on to international success since their Christchurch debuts.
Other highlights include Michele A'Court with her first one-woman show in seven years, the return of fabulous diva Le Gateau Chocolat, Lili La Scala's classic songbook show and Keith Preene's Golden Goose Bingo show.
The festival, which will involve 660 performances over 11 days in January, will once again be held in Hagley Park rather than the city centre. The festival has been held in a cluster of temporary venues in the park since the February 2011 earthquakes.
Wright said they hoped to return to city centre in the future, but it was still not ready for the thousands of people drawn to the event every year.
"I've been walking around town and it is awkward. It is fine if you only have 30 or 40 people, but what about the 20 or 30,000 people we attract?" she said.
"It is just too messy still. We need infrastructure around us so people can get a coffee and go to the loo. We can't have people sitting down on that gravel. It has got to be a bit more comfortable. You can't be watching a show and have a crane or a big digger banging away."
Here are some of the highlights from the programme of evening shows:
THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE - MORE TAPE
The boy is back.
The Boy with Tape on his Face, aka Canterbury performer Sam Wills, is bringing his international hit show back to Christchurch for the first time since 2012.
Wills shot to fame with his charming character at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010, brought the show to Christchurch in 2011, then returned in 2012 with his More Tape sequel. Wills has performed for royals, appeared on British TV shows, completed sold out tours of the UK and taken his show to London's West End.
If you missed out in 2012, here's your chance to see the enchanting More Tape show.
Wright said the sequel has improved since its Christchurch debut in 2012.
"Since it was last here, that show has got really tight, " she said.
"There's nothing wasted in that show. He is in huge demand everywhere. It took a lot of begging and pleading to get him here. He has sold out everywhere."
DAREDEVIL CHICKEN CLUB
Wright first discovered this anarchic and electrifying double act on the streets of Denver in Colorado in 1999.
The Daredevil Chicken Club, comprising husband-and-wife team Jonathan Taylor and Anne Goldmann, are a festival favourite; bewildering, shocking and entertaining with their regular hosting duties at the festival's Comedy Club.
They were spotted by a theatre producer at the festival and asked to host Spiegelworld's Empire show, which was a hit in New York last year and is currently touring Australia.
Wright had to arrange for the duo to be released from their Empire contract for 11 days so they could return to Christchurch.
If you thought their outrageous routine involving bananas couldn't be topped, wait until you see their magic routine that climaxes with full frontal male nudity.
MAGICIAN PAUL NATHAN
US magician Paul Nathan will be performing a traditional conjuring show in the Christchurch Casino by night and a subversive show for teenagers by day.
Wright has been trying to attract the world-renowned magician to the festival for years.
"It will be kind of a traditional magic show. Casinos always lend themselves to magic shows. It is not David Copperfield or anything, but it is still pretty slick, " she said.
For The I Hate Children Children's Show, Nathan takes on the character of a self-important magician that has been forced to perform for mere children.
BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS
There comes a moment when a well-known street performer either takes a risk and goes to the next level or doubles down and digs into their familiar and safe persona for good.
Street performer David Ladderman has been a staple of the Christchurch scene for years, but appears to be heading in an exciting new direction. His show Battle of the Bastards riffs on the character of Edmund the Bastard from Shakespeare's King Lear. It was well reviewed at the Edmonton Fringe festival in Canada earlier this year.
Wright has high hopes.
"It was a big hit. He is going to be the next Boy with Tape. So, of course, we are going to have that. Performers need to reinvent themselves. You get a lot of acts that never freshen up their show or get outside the box. Once in a while, they take a chance and that's what he did."
The World Buskers Festival, January 16-26, Hagley Park. See worldbuskersfestival.com for details.