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Toffy Paulweber - Lucky Pigeons Interview

A treat for the whole family, Brainfools' high-flying Fringe debut conjures the unearthly world of a flock of energetic, colourful and curious pigeons. In association with Underbelly, Lucky Pigeons uses polished contemporary circus skills and irresistible humour to tell a surreal new fable about the pecking order of urban society. Expect the unexpected, from jaw dropping juggling to dazzling aerialist tricks and lifts!

A young businessman struggles to keep up with the non-stop helter-skelter of the City, when all of a sudden it judders to a halt. When he loses his job, he takes his frustration out on the ever- present population of the city streets: pigeons. As his Saville Row suit turns to iridescent feathers and he grows a beak, his transformation sees him join a new flock. He discovers a playful, misunderstood world from a bird’s eye view. Lucky Pigeons is a deeply soulful story told through daring aerials and mesmerising acrobatic feats.

Photo by Luke Chadwick Jones

Ahead of Lucky Pigeons playing at the Edinburgh Fringe I sat down with performer and producer Toffy Paulweber to learn more about the show.

What inspired you to create your piece?
Finn and I were strolling around London, and we couldn't help but notice the bizarre similarity between how people treat homeless folks and pigeons. So, we thought, "Why not create a hilarious, metaphorical tale involving these feathery friends?" Our goal was to tackle serious issues while making people laugh and gasp at our gravity-defying performances.

Have you had to do much research into pigeons and their movements/mannerisms?
Oh, you bet! We turned into full-fledged pigeon detectives, observing their every move and interaction. We wanted to nail their quirky mannerisms, so we incorporated these observations into our choreography and storytelling. Our pigeon-inspired antics add a whole new level of authenticity and relatability to the show.

How do you approach making something meaningful whilst working with circus skills and humour?
We think a thoughtful story, circus skills and humour are the perfect ingredients for cooking up a meaningful performance. By blending these elements, we create a delightful experience that draws the audience in, allowing us to tackle serious themes with a wink and a smile. It's all about finding that sweet spot between laugh-out-loud moments and thought-provoking reflections.

Photo by Luke Chadwick Jones

What do you want an audience member to take away from seeing the show?
We hope our audience members leave the show with grins on their faces, feeling inspired and enlightened about the social issues we explore. We want them to appreciate the power of friendship, the importance of shattering stereotypes, and the awesomeness of joining forces to make the world a better place. And, of course, we hope they have an absolute blast during the performance!

What performances/shows have inspired you?
We've been inspired by a smorgasbord of performances and shows, from mind-blowing circus acts to plays that tug at your heartstrings. Some of our favourites include Cirque du Soleil's "Alegria," the brilliantly executed "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," and the deeply touching "The Humans." These shows have shown us the power of storytelling, creativity, and how to tickle the audience's funny bone while leaving a lasting impact.

Can you describe the show in 3 words?
Feathery, heartwarming, hilarious.

Lucky Pigeons plays at Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows (The Beauty), from Friday 4th – Saturday 26th August 2023 (not 14th, 21st), at 13:05. Tickets are available from

Photo by Luke Chadwick Jones

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