The Invisible Journey – The Tobacco Factory Theatre
“We are all the stars of the show, we are all centre stage in the Spotlight !”
The shabby crazies in the corner, the mumbling tramps at the bar, strange foreigners in cheap shoes or the laughing locals from the shanty town, the people social programming tells us to avoid and distrust. These were the angels of the road, the kings of the gutters and queens of the streets.
The show has sold out nights as part of Bristol’s Mayfest theatre festival as well as a second run at The Tobacco Factory Theatre Bristol and a one night stand at The Roundhouse Circus fest. We have plans to bring it back for 2015 at the Bristol Old Vic, watch this space!!!
Whats hot Bristol – Editor’s Review
(Following the performance on Friday 23rd September):
“UNMISSABLE: Man of a thousand faces, Doug Francisco, writes and stars in a one-man performance of The Invisible Journey. The show is based on a decade of Doug’s life spent travelling the world, and follows his development into a street performer. Doug’s ability to transform, within seconds, into each character with only the aid of basic props is quite outstanding. His facial expressions and body language bring to life the otherwise forgotten street performers, travellers, down and outs, the men and women of the streets; each delivered with comic genius as well as moments of poignancy.
A roller-coaster 90 minute monologue, The Invisible Journey leaves its audience on a high; I’m still chuckling the following day about cat juggling and the Evil Clown. Also, hats off (there’s lots of hats in this show!) to the highly talented mini-orchestra, featuring members of showband, The Carny Villains.
The only downside to The Invisible Journey is that it only runs for 3 nights, so catch the last performance tonight (Saturday 24th September) while you can!”
Review: The Invisible Journey @ The Island Mayfest 2011
12 05 2011
There is only one night left to see The Invisible Journey, a one-man show by Doug Francis as part of Mayfest. The ringmaster of the Invisible Circus described it yesterday evening as “the most terrifying night of my life”, and this from the man who was the creative driving force of Carny Ville, featuring a cast of hundreds with lampposts that spit fire.
Doug Francis, Doug Francisco, call him what you will, is an incomparable force of nature. Without Doug, Bristol would not have experienced Carny Ville, the most constantly thrilling spectacle of recent years.
The Invisible Journey is the antithesis of the spectacular shows seen by thousands over several days, but through it we learn where the Invisible Circus and Carny Ville have come from, for it was during these formative years that Doug recounts for us here that he transformed from a musical busker to a street artiste, laying the building blocks that ended up first at the Audi garage on Cheltenham Road and later at the Island.
I bumped into documentary film maker Naomi Smyth before this show, who followed Doug and cohorts on their journey over the last few years in The Invisible Circus: No Dress Rehearsal (watch a screening at the Watershed on May 28). Naomi told me that this was the “early history” of Doug’s journey to who he is today.
Doug is a masterful storyteller and kept his audience, which included his mum, enraptured throughout a story which documents his travels in Europe during the early 1990s and the cast of characters who he met along the way.
With a different hat on his head, he becomes a wide-boy juggler, a refugee from Yugoslavia and a Spanish pimp, among a cohort of men and women who he encountered on what sounded like one heck of a journey. “I was rescued from that town by a gay Hell’s Angel, but that’s another story,” he tells us cryptically at one point
With his jaunty red-brimmed hat on, he is Doug Francisco. But a rare glimpse on stage of the real Doug Francis comes without any hat on, as he speaks from the heart about what he learned on his journey.
Part-travelogue, part-story, part-performance, part-confessional, with a few musical and comedy interludes, The Invisible Journey is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a fascinating man.
The Invisible Journey is at the Island tonight, May 12.