Reclaiming the streets the weekend's top contenders

 

Space Cowboy: The undisputed street performance champion of the world defends his title. According to the rules of the festival, now in its second year, only the winning participant is invited to return. But can there be anyone out there with the skills to beat Chayne Hultgren, the charming Aussie with a wide smile and a pierced everything, who defies death on an hourly basis? This is his world championship, we only live through it.

Popeyed: Although we're reasonably sure that the human body isn't supposed to be capable of the stunts these strongmen perform, the, um, Russian acrobats (with Australian addresses) broaden horizons and beggar belief.

The Beast of Comedy: The only act that actually seems to slightly terrify the organisers, Zimbabwe's Beast of Comedy (not his real name) seems poised between slapstick and insanity, his act - performed with diva Kate McKenzie - a blend of acrobatics, operatics, a human catapult and a sousaphone.

Gamarjobat: It's not all juggling and cracking wise at the Street Performance World Championships. These astonishingly good Japanese mime artists can inspire head-scratching awe with their most common routines. Serious contenders for this year's championship, unless it is finally revealed that they are not bending the laws of physics at all, merely using invisible props.

Los2Play: If they look like superheroes, dress like superheroes and even fly through the air like superheroes, what are we to make of the fantastic four that make up Spain's Los2Play? The best guess is that they're world leaders in comedy acrobatics. Or superheroes. Whichever.