The Sweep and the Apprentice, Sooty

Inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid”, “The Chimney Sweeps: A Family Business” is a piece of family theatre with nostalgic airs that brings back the charms of the Victorian era in Mary Poppins style. It is a silent show choreographed to an original music score, and it includes original jigs, dazzling acrobatics, juggling, humour and a full load of charm.

The idea for this show was ignited a few years ago by a review of another show of hours, in which The Apprentice did a cameo appearance. This is the review, featured in the blog Tales from the South Bank

The image of the chimney sweeps is widely recognised and it brings good humour to those hard times. It also recuperates a traditional circus and vaudeville experience that has been lost in live entertainment nowadays, but an experience that everybody can feel identified with, which is family theatre performed by a father and his child. The show has the special appeal of having a very talented child performer, who shows a very engaging relationship with his father and partner in crime.

Here is an account of the research and creative process of the production, sometimes by The Sweep, sometimes by The Apprentice, Sooty…

Saturday, 11 January 2020

The Bedlam Boys

Looking back at fond memories from last year...We were invited to perform at Bedlam Fair, in Bath, last June 2019...

Despite the rain we managed to get there and back again without getting too wet...Great audiences who praised the show, and in particular Sooty's turns.

We also caught up with old friends and took some photos home to remember the day!

photo © Nik Palmer

photo © Nik Palmer

photo © Nik Palmer

photo © Luke John Emmett

photo © Luke John Emmett

photo © Luke John Emmett

photo © Luke John Emmett

photo © Luke John Emmett

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Clean'in them stacks in old London Town

The Smog

T'was in the wee hours of Saturday morn'in that me and the lad set off for a clean'in of the stacks in old London Town.

"Wiv a broken back we cleaned the stack
and learnt our pan man and spread ham"

Down on the ground just sitt'in and star'in we built a crowd of old and young smil'in faces!

This is what guv' Phil Sherman said 'bout the job:

"The Chimney Sweeps in a delightful show.
Capturing the soot and grime of the Victorian time Circle of Two present a comical glimpse into the world of the sweep. This production makes for a good introduction to this period of our history and is useful learning tool.
We have a sweep and his apprentice arrive and set up to clean some chunky chimneys. The sweeps are laden with poles and brushes and wander through the setting with a few things dropping on the way that draw the audience naturally into helping and engaging with the duo. The boss is muttering what has to be done and how. Meanwhile his apprentice just tries to keep on top of it all and of course fails, well, just a bit. The sweeps then get into their stride with a charming acrobatic routine that has poles assembled and the chimneys inspected. The apprentice finally gets the upper hand by disappearing into the chimneys and popping up unexpectedly in adjacent pots while being told to hurry up by his boss.  
The audience giggled and chuckled as the father and son team finally got down to cleaning the pots. The youngsters in the audience were looking wide eyed to their parents as they saw surprising tricks take place right before their eyes. This is a great performance for families to enjoy as the team are very engaging and present a show that is accessible to so many."

And Rachel and Gabriel were in the audience and afterwards said:
"Lovely, charming act. Reminded me of (how I imagine!) an old music hall act would have been."

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Rochester Sweeps Festival

We had a great time at Splat! 2018, part of the Rochester Sweeps Festival earlier this month, where we premiered our show. The weather was fantastic and the atmosphere was even better!

We got some great feedback both from the organisation and the audience.

Dawn Archer, from Splat! said:
"It was lovely to have Circle of Two at Splat!  Of course, the theme was perfect within the main Sweeps Festival event.   The Chimney Sweeps: A Family Business is a gentle, entertaining show ideal for a family audience and the acrobatic skills of the father and son team delighted our audiences."
And here are some of the comments from the audience:
"What a funny show! And an amazing kid! Thanks" - Sylvia, Kasmir, Lea & Moritz 
"Super cool. I loved it! (second time I've watched since I really like it!)" - Ankish 
"Very impressive show" - Charlotte
And our photographer friend Kim Jarred took some very good pictures! Here they are....

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Set Sound Action

The set is a' coming together.....
The notes 'ave been composed.....
Words and thoughts are turnin' te actions.....
'No' long now! - shouts Sooty the Lad over me shoulder!

Prepping the chimneys' base
Chimney pots ready to paint

First layers of paint 
We did it...Ta da!!!

Monday, 19 March 2018

From The Sweep

The Sweep
Time is pressing and me old nerves is gettin' taught.......

I've been learning me letters and reading' about me past. Twas and tis a dark ol' world up there, all black n' sooty!

But me and the lad don't wannit to be that way. We're wan'ing to show 'ow it could of been, 'ow it should of been, 'ow it is!

I'm finding' meself ge'ing sucked up the chimney so to speak. Being plunged into the world of the sweeps. We're needing to find our own chimney to call 'ome. Ideas are soon to be tested without much room for errors or play, so we must keep thinkin' that what we do is right today!

I'll be a tryin' to write more to let ye know what we're at. I ain't so good with me letters, but the missus is making sure me boy is learning them good! He'll be writin' too, so keep checking this place out!

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