Thursday, February 17, 2005

Roll up, roll up...

The Blackpool Tower Circus is back for a remarkable 38 week run in 2005. It is a new show with many old favourites, particulary Mooky the clown who always stays topical.

(I'm the only clown in the village....)

There are two small downers- a large metal ball thing spoils the view for the North Balcony people and whilst said ball is used to remarkable effect for the finale (think Fairground "Wall of Death") the water finale only consists of sinking the ring in order to partially submerge the ball pedestal, no squirty effects, fountains or waterfalls. Plenty of noise and petrol fumes though! It also took the crew (& half of the cast) a long time to get the ball in place and the young lad on top will probably end up falling off the girders he nimbly skips along at some stage in the season.

Otherwise there are a number of amazing circus acts, high wire work, what has to be the world's longest trampoline and the daredevil Angels from USA who make the audience gasp with their death wheel antics. They were at the Yarmouth Hippodrome for the Centenary season although they aren't acting quite so crazy this time. (The structure is two hamster wheel style circles either end of a long truss which can pivot. The Angels run around inside and outside the wheels whilst it swoops from floor to ceiling. At Yarmouth they were even jumping from wheel to wheel!) An unusual act were a pair of Jamaicans wearing rasta-style garb, one of whom appeared to have hips that could swivel 360 degrees. They also demonstrated limbo circus-style.

Mooky is also a highly skilled performer as well as a clown and he recreates a plate spinning act of the style we used to see on David Nixon shows with his own flair and humour.

There is another minor downer- the relentless plugging of souvenirs, face painting, candy floss, light-up tat etc. before the show and during the interval. Rather than pay attention to that, spot the turns selling stuff. Last year we noticed the Wardrobe Mistress also sold candy floss and worked a follow-spot.

The show is well worth the admission fee and it is worth queueing to get good seats ringside on the North. If you want to bite your nails watching the death wheel, sit in the South Balcony!

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