Review: Rod Laver, The Astrolabe Theatre, Glastonbury Festival 2023

When we interviewed juggler Rod Laver earlier this year he told us that he was attracted to ping-pong juggling as he “realised that it was much funnier and had a much bigger wow factor than other juggling.”

He’s not half wrong; the tricks (if we can call them ‘tricks’ given their skill) he performs in Glastonbury Festival’s The Astrolabe Theatre feel like they should be impossible. Today he is accompanied by accordionist Maestro Marcus who provides an appropriately show-y soundtrack to the moustached Laver’s act.

While he holds the world record for the most ping pong balls fired into a target using the mouth in one minute with a sensational 50 balls, today he uses the same target skills to play Beethoven’s Ode to Joy on xylophone onstage.

And it’s not all ping pong balls, Laver keeps the set interesting by introducing playing cards and there is a steady pace to the performance, interlaced with Laver’s dry humour. It’s a delight of a performance and a highlight of the weekend.

Rod Laver is at Glastonbury Festival