Zippos Circus – The Magnificent Top Hat Show Kilmarnock Review

6-9 June 2019


Reviewed by Lorna Templeton

Bringing together fantastic talent from across the globe, Zippos Circus is back with a bang this summer. The 2019 touring show, “The Magnificent Top Hat”, is a rip-roaring, fast-paced blend of daredevil skill, music and laughs that will captivate audience members of all ages.

Cuban springboard artists rub shoulders with foot jugglers from Argentina, while a knife thrower from the Czech Republic follows seamlessly on from some brilliant Kenyan tumblers. There are contortionists, fire-braving limbo dancers and a dazzling array of acrobats and aerial acts. 

Knitting it altogether is the warm and engaging Paulo Dos Santos, a 3ft 6in barrel of laughs who also happens to be an impressively versatile showman. There’s no doubt who is in charge, however: the one and only Norman Barrett MBE, doyen of ringmasters, who returns for his 21st year of Zippos involvement and has the crowd eating out of his hand.

The highlight of the show is an incredible performance from Lucius, a Brazilian motorbike team. Their stage is the “globe of death”, a 15ft diameter cage where two, three, four then five scrambler bikes climb the walls at speeds of up to 60mph. The riders perform an elaborate dance, weaving in and out of each other’s path as the pace increases and the audience wonder just how it’s possible for so many people to do so much in so little space. 

It’s a magnificent spectacle – not least when, for one truly terrifying segment, an assistant climbs in and stands in the middle with no protective gear. When it’s over, it’s hard to tell which sound is louder: the audience applauding or the audience exhaling.

Zippos is in Queen’s Park, Glasgow, from 11-16 June and then moves to the west of the city and Victoria Park  from 18-23 June. There are further Scottish dates in Dundee, Arbroath, Peterhead, Inverness, Elgin, Inverurie, Kirkintilloch and Ayr before the end of July.

Rating: 5/5

Zippos Circus is currently on tour around the UK. For more information, tour dates or to book tickets visit

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