So what exactly was wrong with the gala show at the EJC?

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Orinoco -

So what exactly was wrong with the gala show at the EJC?

#ejc2014

Olivier - - Parent

Didn't see the first show where that happened.
I heard that this guy Samuel Youde, talked/acted for 15 minutes about god, the pope, and rapind children, while masturbating and other stuff. It was not the taste of the traditionnal catholic irish people.
Also, there were lots of long bits by the MC, mathias romir.

On the second show, everything went way quicker, they cut those bits from the MC, Samuel didn't want to change his act so he didn't perform. It was a good show with a slow tempo atmosphere. All the acts were ok, Roxanna second act being the best if you ask me. After the legend show the orgas wanted more fo a new circus show, that's why those interludes were so long, they didn't want it to be a list of acts.

Nonetheless Mathias Romir is brilliant.

The Void - - Parent

The compère was a character act, who spoke really slowly, and did quite long bits between each act. A couple of them had funny moments, but generally, he sapped the energy out of the show. There were a few okay acts, but then Sam came on in a shark suit, with a stream-of-conciousness story-of-a-dream monlogue, which I may have enjoyed as a bit of left-field surrealism, if it weren't for the compère having dulled the life out of me already, or the fact that it went on for (seemingly) 20 minutes. But then he busted out a mighty fine short 3 club piece, which he should have just done in the first place, IMHO. By this time, 75 minutes had gone by, and I was hoping that I would finally get to see the only act I'd been interested in watching, having read the lineup. But no, we get told that there is now an interval. And to get out, because they need to do some set-up. Not asked politely, mind, actually told to piss off. Oh yes, and there had been a fair bit of swearing from Sam, and some from the compère. In a 6:30 Public show.

AND THEN... having been kicked out of our seats, we found ourselves coralled into only half the hall, with access to only 1 set of toilets, which had a queue of 20+ people there by the time I'd been turned away from the nearest ones I'd headed towards. And not allowed back into the main site at all. Fuck that, I'd had enough of that shit, and I was hungry, and Monte had a smoked veggie lasagne on. So I barged passed a steward and through a fire exit. Sorry crew, but there you go, your right royal fuckup of a Gala evening left me fuming.

I later heard that the 2nd half was actually quite good. And that they offered refunds to the public punters.

So, that was what was wrong.

The Legends show was, contrastingly, completely awesome.

Little Paul - - Parent

"The compère was a character act"

Urgh. That's usually enough for me, never mind the rest of it.

lukeburrage - - Parent

I saw the second show. I was surprised at how good it was judging from the comments of those who had walked out of the first one. Still, it was the slowest, lowest energy Gala Show I've ever seen, by quite a long shot.

mrawa - - Parent

True to what everyone else has said. Sadly I remember the act quite well... I'll do a full write up on the Legends and Gala show later, but honestly I was quite disappointed by both. Depending on when you started queuing for the early Gala show (around 5:00pm - 5:30pm) we finally got out around 9pm. Longest show I think I've ever been too, and I thought Toulouse Gala dragged.

magicalmarkwatson - - Parent

I saw the second performance of the Gala Show, and so missed the act that caused so much controversy the first time around.

I thought all of the acts were good, Patrik Elmnert in particular was his usual amazing self! I was surprised how good it was, considering the number of negative comments I had heard about the first show, though I now understand they were two very different shows.

Mathias Romir was, in my opinion, very entertaining - he had created a great character, had some really nice bits and the couple of routines he did were really great. I would LOVE to see what he does in a full hour long show. HOWEVER, this does not make a good compere, and as others have already stated his character sapped all life and energy from the show which is probably one of the worst things an MC can do. Overall, this Gala Show was good, but disappointing in a few key areas and certainly not up to the professionalism and quality of many BJC Gala Shows.

The Legends Stage Show, on the other hand, was in my opinion the best juggling show I am ever likely to see. I am biased in that I prefer the classic circus style of many of the acts, and I'm certainly not saying it was perfect, but I was overwhelmed with the amount of amazing talent up on stage. If we had ended the convention on that show, I would have left in awe of our great circus community.

PS - Regarding the organisation of the Gala Shows, putting up a fence down the middle of the hall and segregating early show and late show ticket holders. I completely agree with Void in that I was left rather angry on the last day by how it was all handled by the organisers. When the fence went up I was dubious, but as they began to put in place tougher controls it just made me angry that we were being caged in to certain areas. I even asked one of the stewards on the entrance created in the fence what purpose it was serving and he said he honestly didn't know, he'd just been told to man it. Whilst I can think of a few reasons why they might have put the fence up, I don't think that any of them are particularly good ones. It certainly brought a downer on the end of my convention...

mrawa - - Parent

Right...

Disclaimer - Never seen most of the acts before... and by this point in the convention I was happy and didn't care about the camping situation or the dusty hall. Actually that's a small lie, I was steadily counting the ways of disposing of the Samba Band... but I consider those happy thoughts!

Legends Show
Getting into the show was fine, Ron had kept a seat for me whilst I finished off a hand of Tichu. However, my first issue was that I could clearly hear some guys music blaring outside. The crew were informed about this and it took a good 10 - 15 minutes in order to quell the awful din.

Note: this was the second showing of the Legends show

The compère... I did not like him. I don't know who he was, but I couldn't understand him (had a thick French accent) and was quite slow at talking and announcing the acts. He didn't dally though, so there wasn't much of him, though he did one trick about halfway through. On the otherhand, others I spoke to did enjoy him, and thought he was quick and was one of the better Compères at the convention (apparently he was an act on an Open Stage that I missed, so that might have added to his character). Maybe he was asked to slow down for the second showing?

Haggis/Charlie
Funny act, and a good laugh. Some of the jokes went on too long. Others (veteran jugglers) had seen the act many times before, but still enjoyed it and I don't think I spoke to anyone who didn't enjoy it. Nice comedy on passing 7 clubs with clever jokes and insulting each other.

Jochen Schell
Apparently in the first showing the lighting wasn't correct so he walked off stage. Later on it turned out that he "couldn't see his rings" according to a tech guy I spoke to. When on in the second showing and the act was passable. The act was split into distinct sections for different tricks (numbers of rings), and the style was centered around manipulation starting with some artsy movements, then to the standard 4 ring rocking/winking thing... and finally finishing off with bouncing juggling 5 rings with a backspin. Nice ending it's just the act wasn't very enaging especially with all the intricate lighting changes.

Steve Mills
Odd start with purposely falling off a unicycle, then went on with a talk about how nice it was to be at an EJC, then finished off with a 3 ball routine that was no better than the "traditionally second act" you'd see at a one day convention... wasn't very impressed for such a high profile name.

Françoise Rochais
I vaguely remember this act from BJC Southend. Much better and cleaner act, interesting use of props, and I was surprisingly impressed with the tempo/mood change halfway through. I don't remember much about the act other than being impressed...

Freddy Kenton
Hmm... initially I thought this was the best act in the show. Impressive balances, looked genuine... however what I heard after the show changed my opinion. After the his act in the first showing he apparently decided that his violin wasn't mic'd correctly and proceeded to storm and shout at Sound Techs (making one of them cry!) all whilst the next act was performing. This is incredibly unprofessional and unacceptable in my opinion, he should have spoken to the Stage Manager and/or waited until after the show. Also, how could he know the violin wasn't loud enough when he was listening to the stage monitors which is not the same as what the audience hears. In addition I heard that this impressive balancing made use of some subtle trickery, which make me question how genuine his act actually was. I was not impressed.

Donald Grant
Flawless, well executed and highly energetic act. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Spoke to Donald afterwards and all I can say is that he's a lovely man and very modest. Afterwards I also heard of his "everything is shorted version" I look forward to seeing that sometime.

Michael Moschen
Bored out of mind... did a little bit of 3 ball bounce juggling, talked about something and made the audience do a trivial finger shape drawing exercise that he audience failed at. Made me think he was conveying the idea that "he is something I can do that you can't" then the audience laughed. I've been shown his Triangle act and was expecting much, much more. Disappointed.

Viktor Kee
Incredibly interesting and well put together act. Only after the show did I realise that he barely moved from the same spot! Great act, fantastic use of flair, stage presence and a ball dropping machine. My only criticism is as a juggler the tricks that were performed were not that impressive. I was expecting more from a Cirque due Solei performer and during the week I would constantly see more impressive things. Great for the public/non-jugglers, I wish was in the Gala show for the public to see.

Overall impression. I was disappointed with the show. I enjoyed half of it, but because of the hype beforehand I was expecting too much.



Gala Show

Note: watched the first showing

Compère - Matthias Romir, with Pig and Whistle (unknown girl... and Darragh McLoughlin) as Stage Hands. I'll say this first. I was thoroughly impressed with the Stage Hands; fantastic characters, and well executed. I personally wish that they were the compère without Matthias.

Matthias... introduced himself as the MC (Miserable Clown), and that was true to his word. Thinking back, I think the show was better than I gave it credit for at the time and I reckon that this was due to Matthias' constant depressed, slow and boring intervals between acts. I've seen him perform at Southend BJC and I remember enjoying his balloon/club routine, however this time it was just depressing. He's a good performer, but I don't think that he is suited to compering. Many people did agree with me on this, however some people did enjoy his character... but the children sitting behind me were impatient (as all children are) and made hilarious comments about getting him off stage. Also, he smoked and swore whilst on and off stage.

On to the actual show

Roxana
Opened the show with a fantastic trapeze (I think... single swing) ball stall, trap and balance routine. Defying the laws of gravity and sense. Thoroughly enjoyed it and was very impressed.

Kyle Johnson
Brilliant if a bit droppy act (heard the second show was very clean). Some amazing contact and juggling moves.

Gail O'Brien
Quite a slow acts. I hadn't seen this side of Gail before, it felt like she was trying something new, but as I'm not much of a hooper I didn't really "get" some of the tricks. I remember seeing a different act at Sheffield and Durham conventions and thinking it was fantastic.

Samuel Youde
... *sigh*, how/why this act wasn't screened before the show or even the convention is a mystery.
Basic breakdown of the act... Whistle is introduced, shows his whistle, blows audience closes eyes. Whistle is blown again and we open our eyes to see:
- Shark onesie on stage next to a flat onesie pikachu?
- Sam shouts that he's been eaten by a shark and asks pikachu to help.
- Gets out of the shark and declares that pikachu is dead.
- He is wearing what is declared to be a Pope's outfit.
- Something to do with his room (as a child?) ... being the Pope, then gets on an imaginary plane to go help people in a third world country.
- Plane crashes and he is the only survivor and swims to a desert island.
- Needs food so uses the dead pikachu as bait and swings it around on a stick, then describes the experience as sex with pikachu... (I remind you that there are public and children in the audience)
- Stops and declares that the hear of pikachu is a bible and that as the pope he should read it....
- At this point I stopped caring, I think this was about 10 minutes in... I was thoroughly disheartened. The rest was to do with being shot by his mother, dying, his soul being carried away by a toy helicopter (that failed to fly) and his dad's soul trying to catch him?
- Then he gets up and says, I should clean my room, but I thought I'd juggle... then does some vaguely interesting 3 club manipulations for about a 1 minute.
- The end....
WTF


Intermission - Matthias literally told everyone to f***off "at the request of the organisers", whilst smoking in a Cherry Picker as he was told he wasn't allowed to smoke on Stage (due to a previous between act piece). An announcement from the crew later confirmed that there was a 15 minute intermission. At this point a fair number of people were angry and disappointed so they decided to leave. Many of the public (I heard) asked for refunds as they did not pay to see this. I'll admit, I was tempted to leave as well... I'm glad I didn't.

Patrik Elmnert
Fantastic, seeing Patrik setup this act during the intermission caused me to stay for the second half, and encourage others to as well. Not quite flawless, but brilliantly designed and executed act. Exactly what I wanted to see and should have been seen by the public.

Roxana (ground/feet act)
I'm sure this was a great act... but I couldn't see it. I'm disappointed that the stage/seating was not designed with this act in mind and an announcement before the act (in both showings) to tell the audience to make sure they could see the stage did not help.

Cyrille Humen
Bored, mostly centered on the same trick (some kinda contact move with crossed arms...), quite sad atmosphere, and little variation. I heard that Cyrille was a talented contact juggler and poi spinner, but maybe another time. The act didn't follow well with the Miserable Clown compère.

Florent Lestage
Incredibly impressive, just a same about the lack of structure and the constant yelps of glee and talking to the clubs. Reading the blurb in the programme I thought afterwards that it might just have been his personality, but other thought it was his character... apparently the second showing was had more drops. Some people liked his yelps of glee, but it just distracted me from the amazing juggling of clubs with the use of canes!

I have to say I feel sorry for all the light and sound crew for the shows. They must have been worked to the bone and I heard they that (certainly the sound guys) were not given very good equipment. In fact I managed to procure a Mac from a very helpful Jane Randall for one of the sound techs for the Legends Stage so that they were about to use QLab, free software in order to do the sound ques, rather than use stop/start in VLC (why oh why?!).

... So yeah, that's my take on the last two shows. I know I'm a bit critical, but I'm being honest and at least I've tried to express the opinion of some others with opposite view to myself.

emilyw - - Parent

From everybody's description, this sounds like the production AND the stage management and possibly the tech crew was of a standard that I would be embarrassed by if I saw it at a one day convention show.

There is not a shortage in the British Isles of people who know how to run a show properly. Why ON EARTH if you are doing a show to this kind of budget would you not find one of these people and ask them for help?!

mrawa - - Parent

Probably worth mentioning that the majority of the tech crew were volunteers, who were not provided with all the equipment they required and/or training.

emilyw - - Parent

what on earth?

It would only take a short conversation with literally anyone who has ever been remotely involved in a show of some kind, to conclude that this is flat out ridiculous. Not to mention very unfair on the poor volunteers.

Many BJC shows have used paid professional light/sound people instead of _skilled_ volunteer jugglers who already knew the job, because the team knows how critical the tech crew is to a production.

The comment about VLC makes me want to cry.

Orinoco - - Parent

Wow. Everyone's descriptions sound unbelievable.

I also don't understand why acts aren't vetted prior to booking but it has happened before I think. There was a footbagger in the first show at EJC 2003 who had no act, no costume & kept losing his ball into the audience who was asked not to return for the second show that I saw. I've heard that Thomas Dietz was not booked to perform his parody poi routine at BJC 2007.

I've been to loads of festivals that have had more than one performance of a show, different tickets has been all that was needed. Who ever thought a fence would be a good idea? I'm pretty sure there are regulations about providing access to toilets for event attendees too (nope apparently just a recommendation).

Definitely boo to ranting at the volunteer sound tech. Not cool.

Richard Loxley - - Parent

I was in the side seating for both shows (I'm not willing to queue up for 60-90 minutes to get better seats).

In the Legends show the loudspeakers were not appropriate for the seating layout, and I couldn't understand anything Haggis & Charlie or Steve Mills said. Thankfully I know H&C's act very well, so I still enjoyed it. Steve Mills's act didn't work for me though as I couldn't understand it. The sound was better (or at least louder) for Michael Moschen. I was still underwhelmed by his act though, wasn't at all like the polished performer I'd been led to believe he was.

I was told that the fence for the Gala show was to restrict jugglers in the main hall from getting too close to the show area, as noise from jugglers was distracting to the audience (particularly in the side seating which looked directly into that part of the hall).

They learned from their mistake in the second showing and allowed everyone out, and re-checked tickets on the way back in.

I thought the second showing of the gala show worked well. The compère was low energy, but it worked for that show. I've still seen better BJC shows though, and it was nowhere near the quality of the Rotterdam EJC gala show (which is what I've got to compare it against).

Olivier - - Parent

sorry for the french accent. It was way better while rehearsing backstage.

Mïark - - Parent

The problem for me wasn't the French accent, but the way the speakers had been set up, meaning anyone sat in the side seats (maybe 1/3 of the audience) suffered from really poor sound quality, making it hard to hear what was being said. Fortunately the names of the acts was on the ticket and the compère was only on for as long as necessary.

I was told the Legends show compère was really good when he performed his act on the Open Stage, but sadly I missed that. He does need to get a hat that fits though.

mrawa - - Parent

I was sitting in the side seats for that showing so that probably did attribute to it. I do keep hearing about issues with the sound setup. I remember now that I could barely understand a word spoken by Steve Mills either.

Of course, it's a lot easier to criticise. There's no way I could do that sort of thing.

^Tom_ - - Parent

Excited as I was about the Legends show, I queued for quite a long time to get good seats (second show).

I had no problem understanding acts or compère; I also liked the compèring - maybe you could tell him ;)
It was a good choice of a host for the legends stage - someone who I know has an appreciation for a bit of juggling history, whilst in the costume and persona of something appropriately classic for such a such.

peterbone - - Parent

I unfortunately watched the first Gala show. Sam's act was terrible. I personally didn't find it offensive, just very long and boring, depressing and not at all funny. I don't think anyone has mentioned that a lot of the Irish locals left during that act and were refunded (or so I heard). Somehow he did still get a standing ovation from a few people. He apparently also performed at the Israel juggling convention previously, where he got similar reactions. I just don't understand how his act got into the EJC Gala show.

 

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