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Minchinhampton Country Fayre

PUBLISHED: 16:36 05 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:56 20 February 2013

Minchinhampton Country Fayre

Minchinhampton Country Fayre

Minchinhampton Country Fayre is taking place on Saturday, September 10. And one of this year's most exciting attractions is the innovative clowning theatre group, Le Navet Bête. Katie Jarvis finds out what to expect

Minchinhampton Country Fayre is taking place on Saturday, September 10. And one of this years most exciting attractions is the innovative clowning theatre group, Le Navet Bte. Katie Jarvis finds out what to expect

There are some things its never going to be easy to do. Understand string theory. Solve the Riemann hypothesis. And up there with the best of them: describe Le Navet Bte using words alone.

If you want a flavour of this unique young theatre troupe (all six lads in their 20s), then try googling their videos. Youll find a blend of slapstick, psychology, music, dance, acrobatics and sheer infectious energy. In one scene, theyll be performing the kind of lunatic dance that makes Monty Python look like a bunch of accountants; the next, theyll cartwheel and unicycle around the stage; then four of them will form a human pyramid, steady as a rock - its the fifth, two feet planted firmly on the ground, who teeters precariously, wavering backwards and forwards, before finally losing balance and tumbling over.

One of our reviewers in 2009 from the [Edinburgh] fringe festival signed off by saying, The massively talented and energetic Le Navet Bte are reinventing the clown, says 25-year-old Nick Bunt, the youngest member. We want to let people know that clowning is not just your Ronald McDonald. The possibilities are endless.

Were sitting chatting in Minchinhamptons The Kitchen, the award-winning caf owned by his parents, Diane and Werner. Nick laughs: They were actually very supportive. They said, If you want to do it, then go ahead. Which is brilliant.
The clowning we do dates back to medieval times. Dario Fo, the modern-day father of Commedia dellarte, described it as physical theatre, audience interaction, live music, foolish.

In Britain unlike Europe - clowns tend to be seen as ridiculous wastes of space (Stop that clowning around!) or horror movie material. Coulrophobia a fear of clowns is the second most common phobia after spiders, Nick says. But the individual clown characters that we have created mean a lot to us, and audiences can often relate them to a part of themselves.

The very name Le Navet Bte (French for the daft turnip) shows their absurd side. But that hasnt stopped these young men who met on a theatre course at Plymouth University from being invited to perform all over the world.
Minchinhampton Country Fayre marks the first time Nick has performed in his home town, and hes excited at the prospect. We like to tear down barriers,

Nick says. When we perform in the street as we will in Minch well often do a scene that plays on panto. Ill be talking with the audience when one of the other clowns will sneak up behind me. Ill turn slowly round and hell go the other way. When people shout out Hes behind you!, thats when Ill stop to address the audience and say, What are you thinking of? Of course I know hes behind me. We wrote the show together!

Its a classic example of their quirky humour. We like to call it subverting the subversive. It just brings another layer to the jokes.

For more information about Le Navet Bte, visit

Diary Date

Put a red ring in your diary round Saturday, September 10 and make sure youre free for Minchinhamptons Country Fayre!

As always, the town centre will be completely given over to this fabulous biennial event. Beginning at 12 noon, it will be opened by a pageant, which includes innovative theatre troupe Le Navet Bte, as well as medieval re-enactment group Companions of the Forest, musicians, local societies and children from Minchinhampton School.

Therell be classic cars, circus-skills workshops, Walking with Hawks, live music, dancing, singing, more than 40 stalls, an art exhibition, Punch and Judy, fairground rides, a mini rugby tournament, Minchinhampton Gardening Club Horticultural Show, Holy Trinity Flower Festival, a pig roast, beer tent, and lots more.

The fayre, with roots dating back to medieval times, raises thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes.

Minchinhampton Country Fayre, 12noon-5pm, in the centre of Minchinhampton, near Stroud, entry free. Follow @minchfayre on Twitter.


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