Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
We were very excited to be invited to the press event at Zippo’s Circus, Blackheath, London on Easter Monday (17 April 2017). My son, age 4, had not been to a circus before and neither I nor my husband had been in the last couple of decades so it was with a great deal of anticipation that we set off for the journey to London. The traffic was kind to us and on arriving half an hour early we were able to park right next to the Big Top. Parking is only £1.00 for the performance and is right next door which is extremely good value especially for London.
On arrival we were met by an efficient press team, were we were given name badges and to my sons delight a flashing light sabre, popcorn and candy floss which we battled to keep away from him all afternoon!
We were then straight into the circus area which initially surprised me as I just assumed the ring would be huge but actually it’s quite small. This is actually a very good thing as with the seats staggered right down to the edge of the ring everyone gets a great view. The seats soon filled up and there was a fantastic atmosphere in the tent, it was pleasantly warm too as it is heated. The ringmaster Norman Barrett MBE introduced the show and from then on for the next two hours the three of us and the rest of the audience were spellbound by the amazing entertainment. One of our particular favourites was Juma, the contortionist, although I did have to look away several times as my stomach was churning!
Another favourite was Kimberley Souren the aerial artiste, an immensely talented gymnast that performs high up on a swinging trapeze, she was mesmerising and kept you on the edge of your seat with her daredevil tricks. They were just two of the fantastic performances we saw, there were also the seriously cute Norman Barrett MBE and his performing budgies, Cossack riders The Kadikov Troupe and knife throwers Tony & Nikol Novotny to mention just a few.
What really made the show come alive were the comedy acts which were suitable for all ages. Instead of traditional clowns there was Emilion Delbosq compare and all round comedy entertainer and Alexandru Lupu the funny fireman delivering slapstick comedy as he tries to put out a fire firstly on his helmet then in the air just beyond the reach of the ladder. My son loved both these acts.
The grand finale was the Lucius team and the Globe of Terror, a daredevil motorcycle troupe who speed round a steel cage at over 60 miles an hour. If this wasn’t heart stopping enough at one point the cage separates in the middle leaving the riders at the top whizzing round in mid-air it’s absolutely amazing and we all agreed it was the highlight of the show.
We had a fantastic afternoon at Zippo’s Circus. It takes a lot to keep a four year old entertained for half an hour let alone two hours plus but Zippos and their array of performers managed it perfectly. It is great value too as it lasted from 3.00pm right through 5.15pm including the interval. My one small criticism is the lack of toilets, there was only one bank of six ladies and six men’s toilets and it took so long that many ladies missed the start of the second half; even the men had to queue. Apart from that issue I recommend it whole heartedly for a fun family day out.
Next stop is Kings Heath in Birmingham (20-26 April 2017). For more information, tour dates or to book tickets visit zippos.co.uk.