Topp Twins return to busking roots

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2013
Topp Twins
CARYS MONTEATH/Fairfax NZ
'THAT FELT SPECIAL': Jools and Lynda Topp perform in Cathedral Square just weeks before the February 2011 earthquake.

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The World Buskers Festival 2013

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Christchurch is a place where the Topp Twins can reconnect with their busking roots and "let loose" with spontaneous comedy.

The legendary comedy duo will busk in Hagley Park this afternoon and host the Comedy Club this evening as part of the World Buskers Festival.

The twins first took part in the festival 17 years ago with a memorable performance in Cashel Mall and have been regulars ever since.

Lynda Topp said the festival takes them back to their busking roots.

"Busking was how we started out. We were busking at one of the first festivals. We've come full circle from where we started in some ways.

"It is an amazing festival. We have been to quite a few festivals around the world, but the Christchurch one is the best. You never know quite what you are going to get. There is always an amazing act that blows your socks off."

She has fond memories of performing in Christchurch.

"There are two particular gigs that are memorable for us. At one of our first festivals we performed in Cashel Mall. I went into Ballantynes during the show and stole a little toy lamb and incorporated it into our act. That was a moment. We tried to sell it at auction like in a saleyard. Then we gave it back."

Another standout performance was in January 2011 in Cathedral Square just a few weeks before the February quake. A huge crowd enjoyed the Topp Twins performing in front of Christ Church Cathedral.

"That felt special," she said.

"There was a beautiful picture of that show in one of the quake books. That's a piece of history right there. I felt really humbled to be in that picture with the crowd and the cathedral there. She's not there any more."

The festival allowed them to connect with audiences and create spontaneous moments.

"There is nothing scripted when we do the buskers festival. You are flying by the seat of your pants. Something about that feeling makes you want to come back," she said.

"For Jools and me it's very exciting because these are the only R16 shows that we ever do. We can let loose a bit at the buskers festival.

"Audiences are always waiting and watching for that special moment that will not happen again. It is a spontaneous moment that can never be repeated."

Festival art director Jodi Wright said the Topp Twins had helped the festival over nearly two decades.

"They are busking icons and an inspiration for a lot of performers to feel OK about busking. They show that it is not seedy - that it is a legitimate performing skill. They are revolutionaries."

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BUSKERS WEATHER

The first weekend of the buskers festival in Christchurch should remain dry, thankfully, but northwesterly winds could disrupt performances on Saturday afternoon.

The first street performances today should enjoy fine weather with high cloud. Showers will fade early this morning, according to MetService.

Saturday will also be dry, but gusting northwesterly winds will pick up in the afternoon. The nor'wester will give way to a southerly late in the evening.

Sunday will be mainly fine once the southerly has died out in the morning.

- The Press

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