Circus 1903 at The Lowry Manchester Review

19-24 November 2019

Circus 1903

Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam

In all of my years attending theatre shows, I have honestly never had such a mix of emotions all rolled into one performance. I can truly say that this show was phenomenal. The mixture of absolute talent with such a beautifully scripted shows was a magical combination. 

From each individual performance I went from laughing in hysterics, to fear, to enjoyment. Each performer was at the absolute top of their game and they knew exactly how to please the crowd and have their full engagement and participation.

The show is based in 1903 and unlike your usual big top circus, it is on a live theatre stage. There is a huge range of acts from jugglers to acrobats and an Elastic Dislocationalist. What truly makes this show unique though is the use of puppets to bring a mummy elephant, Queenie, and baby elephant, Peanut, come to life on stage with the excellent puppeteers from the award-winning show, Warhorse, who have brought back elephants to the circus! 

I have recently been to a big top circus, which we enjoyed thoroughly, but it was nothing in comparison to what I witnessed last night at The Lowry Theatre in Salford, Manchester. It was a spectacular blend of everyone’s favourite circus acts with the hilarious and perfectly timed Ringmaster, Willy Whipsnade, guiding the acts and entertaining the audience to a very high standard.

Willy, from the USA, is a fantastic laugh maker. His rapport with the audience was just outstanding and he had them hanging on his every word. I very nearly wet myself I was laughing so much and hard. His way with children was beautiful to watch and the interactions with them up on stage was so enjoyable to witness. It was much more delightful to watch children up on stage and was the best show interaction I have seen. 

We enjoyed every single, individual act; however, our favourite acts were the opening act and the final act. The opening act was a trio of acrobats bouncing each other off a seesaw. The energy in the performance was ecstatic and gave off such a buzz. The final act was also an acrobat act which saw a duo with one member spinning the other on his feet. It was just amazing to witness.  

Circus 1903 is fun for families of all ages and we saw everyone who attended thoroughly enjoying themselves. In fact, I have never seen so many genuine belly laughs in all of my years of reviewing live performances. 

We attended the show on the eve of my birthday and what a fabulous way for me to spend the night as a pre celebratory event. It was absolutely brilliant and trumps any circus show I have seen or am yet to see. I would rate it a massive 5/5! 

The running time is two hours and 20 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £18 (booking fees may apply).

Circus 1903 is at The Lowry in Manchester from 19-24 November 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000

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