Hanley Forest Park has seen many a fun fair or big top circus take to its grassy fields and I’ve been in attendance, eaten my weight in food from a fast food van and cop a squat on the grass to soak in the atmosphere whilst chowing down a burger. This weekend, the bright lights and sounds of the fair were surpassed by a mesmerising performance of The Enchanted Chandelier, brought to Forest Park by the guys and girls over at Appetite, who are a part of a three year programme is with the aim to get more young people inspired by arts and culture. Appetite have been instrumental in hosting 667 events in the city since the start of their programme and performed to an estimated 363,977 people.
Located near to the lake, the open air theatre took on somewhat of a festival feel with street food stalls on hand to feed the masses Roberts Bros, Noted Ices, Neena’s Indian Food, Hillbilly’s Grill Shack (with delicious looking handmade gourmet burgers) and Po’s Pizzas plus refreshment from Cafe Revival and the guys from Hanley’s independent Bottle Craft with an amazing selection of draft ale and craft bottles. I’m a big fan of Bottle Craft, I’ve popped in to the store a number of times to pick up an interesting bottle or two (they’re always on hand to recommend) so I was pleased to see I wouldn’t be drinking flat draught with a foamy head. After queuing for a little longer than I’d like (no harm done there, it was nice to stretch my legs) I plumped for a a bottle of Mongozo Coconut (& Mango for good measure) and took my place on the grass before the darkness swooped in and the evening’s entertainment began.
The Enchanted Chandelier has been stunning crowds worldwide for over ten years by the French company Transe Express, who have performances at the Olympic Games and Disneyland Paris under their hats as well as performing in over 80 countries on 5 continents, have been described as sublime by French Newspaper L’Est Republicain. Sat amongst the crowd of couples, friends and families of all ages huddled on picnic blankets or camping chairs in the open air theatre, we were truly mesmerised by this magical and spellbinding musical concert like nothing I’ve seen before. I’ve seen countless shows at the theatre and perhaps only the intricacy of War Horse comes close to how spellbinding this open air show was.
After performances within the crowd from the actors, the chandelier was slowly lifted skywards, it’s shape changing as it rose up to 50m above the park complete with percussionists, trapeze artists, bell ringers, singers and acrobats as music rung out across the park accompanied by a magnificent light show which complimented the music and really brought the show to life.
The Enchanted Chandelier was a sight to behold and the sound of applause and cheers from the spellbound audience just went to confirm that Appetite really delivered with this internationally renowned show.