Sunday, January 29, 2012

Busker's World First

Mild-mannered plate-spinning
Peter Mielniczek
On the last show of the last day of the World Busker's Festival, no one could predict what was going to happen. Add to the tension a cooling rain, a red beret, and a precocious 4 year old, and the inevitable transpired. Dry-humoured plate-spinning Brit Peter Mielniczek created history (we think). For a full seven minutes, Mielniczek (pronounced "Mielniczek") worked two crowds, two shows at two venues, two sets of gags, and wowed everyone, including (it seemed) even his fellow buskers.

Le Tigre Bleu, Group Show @ 4.30
Well into his plate-spinning, chocolate bar stomping, topless dashing routine, it appeared he was losing control. A young boy named James was stealing the show. Precocious, cute, but a little annoying, James wooed the audience with his cute philosophising. Mielniczek was visibly shaken by the boy's clever responses. Time was running out. He was losing the crowd (not really, but it sounds more dramatic that way. The kid was adorable and Mielniczek was working it like a master). But time was running out. Mielniczek was due in Le Tigre Bleu, an indoor stage opposite the CocaCola Stage where he was, for a bit part in the group show.

So, with time against him, and after two (good-hearted) warnings from fellow buskers, Mielniczek did the unthinkable (at least, to the uninitiated, I imagine such a thing would be unthinkable). He told his audience to wait. He'd be back. Yes. He told the gathered crowd, who had not paid to see him, who were sitting in the cold spitty rain, and from whom he was expecting/hoping to get money as long as they stayed there, to wait. Just let me do this little thing, over there, and I'll be back.

Now, no offense to the other great acts that have been on show this week, but what followed was four or five minutes of the cleverest performance art I've ever seen at the Busker's Festival. And what's more, it may have all been impromptu.

Fur hat
Mielniczek grabbed his now infamous fur hat and made a dash through the crowd for Le Tigre Bleu. His mic still on, the abandoned crowd heard him buttering up the Tigre Bleu crowd. With a little help from his fellow buskers the interactions got crazy. There was lots of shouting and booing and whistling and clapping as both crowds were played off against each other as they enjoyed the farce. There was more running and dashing between stages. More laughing. And somewhere in the mix Mielniczek lost his shirt!

And then it was over. He was back as promised, to the waiting crowd. And the spinning plates.

Peter Mielniczek dashes between crowds and stages, much to the
amusement of his fellow buskers including mat Ricardo (grey suit)  and boy
still without tape on his face Sam Wills (laughing in the tent doorway)
Shirtless Peter Mielniczek claims both crowds!

I have to confess, I didn't warm to Peter Mielniczek (during the week). But I loved his routine today. I don't know if it was orchestrated or impromptu. Either way, it was damn good theatre!

Mielniczek returns to a "tunnel" built by
kids in the waiting crowd.

...and the plate spinning resumes

Precocious James wowed the crowd and  rendered
even the busker speechless

1 comment:

Tracey Edwardes said...

He would have got morrre money if he'd lost the shorts~! I suppose this was his last chance of having the sky rain $$...until next year..good on him! . might keep the shirt-losing routine. (-: