Have you ever seen a better finale to a live performance than a rollicking audience-wide pink and white marshmallow food fight? No? I didn’t think so. But so ended the show last weekend of Marshmallow Family Circus. As the pink and white confections whizzed by and I laughed incredulously, I knew this show is one I will see again when next in town. I start at the end of the show because it was just such a ludicrously funny way to end a performance. But allow me to tell you from the beginning. Marshmallow Family Circus is a one-man show of magic tricks, puppetry, humor, juggling and things balancing and spinning on top of other things that are balancing and spinning on top of yet more things. Gypsy Geoff has been in the business for about ten years having honed his skills at an early age busking on the streets of New Orleans. He builds his own marionettes that are used in the shows and has been friends with Asheville’s own LaZoom folks since coming through town years ago.
Gypsy Geoff started out his very family-friendly performance by having his marionette duck waddle through the crowd greeting everyone. We also got to see a magical little green-clad fairy marionette creeping gingerly up behind a little girl from the audience, a marionette dog named Bonkers who relieved himself on a man’s shoe and a marionette skeleton with an affinity for James Brown who performed a mean belly dance. Geoff juggled batons, hats, six oranges and knives which, incidentally, he juggled while balancing on top of a rolling barrel which was perched precariously on top of an old trunk. Gypsy Geoff is big into audience participation and one of the best moments of the show came when he had four children standing up in front balancing spinning plates on top of thin poles. The kids couldn’t believe their skill as they stared up in awe at the whirling china! And if this wasn’t enough, Gypsy Geoff took the opportunity as the plates whirled to stand up in back of the kids and play the plates like they were drums. And then there was that finale.
The whole thing was so chaotic (in a very good way!) but if memory serves me correct Geoff had a spinning metal washtub balanced on top of the leg of a red wooden chair which was somehow balanced on the bristles of a broom, the handle of which was resting somewhere on Gypsy Geoff’s face. You’ll excuse my confusion because it was at this moment that audience members, in accordance with Geoff’s instructions and having passed around a bag of marshmallows, began hurling the sugary puffs up in the attempt to sink them into the spinning tub. Before we knew it, Geoff was hurling the marshmallows back and the brief food fight ensued. If you ask me (and I know you didn’t) this is a perfect show to take the kids to while unwinding from the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll keep you posted next year around this same time when Gypsy Geoff rolls back into town.
Marshmallow Family Circus was held at Toy Boat, which is definitely a place to keep your eye on. Toy Boat is a community arts and performance space located (conveniently!) in the same building as French Broad Brewery on Fairview Road. They offer events and circus-related classes and on Saturday December 7th are offering a free circus class day from 12-2!
For more info about Gypsy Geoff visit: http://www.gypsygeoff.com/
By Amy Brown