Producer / Director: Dr Haze!
Reviewer: Gina Skillings
Conceived at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival and reaching the semi-finals of ITV’s ‘Britain’s got Talent’ in 2011, The Circus of Horrors is now touring a new show around the UK. Set in 1927 Berlin, home of gallows humour Cabaret, this show supersedes the previous act ‘The Ventriloquist’ with the new ‘The Curse of the Devil Doll’.
Actually less horrific than you would imagine, the Circus of Horrors features a variety of circus side show acts, dispersed amid some singing and a compare, which all hangs loosely around a story about a ventriloquist’s evil dummy come to life.
The song lyrics were indecipherable, therefore the story was lost and the show was really just about watching the acts as stand alone pieces. The sword swallower, Hannibal Hellmurto, was shockingly bizarre and not for the squeamish while the array of acrobatics performed by the tumblers was nothing out of the ordinary but still fun to watch. The highlight of the show were the aerial acrobatics performed on ropes and ribbons, to a standard you could expect of a Las Vegas show. There were an array of other acts, a ‘bendy’ boy, fire eating and a balancing act which was also a highlight.
Some parts of the show seemed unnecessary, or at best out of place, the Wolf Boy appeared to be there purely because of his appearance and provided little entertainment factor. The girl hanging by the hair is quite extraordinary, but the ‘wow factor’ is lost somewhat when it has been displayed on National television on more than one occasion, and nothing new is added. The magic illusions were cheap, old hat and would be better left out altogether.
The music was middle of the road, a good backdrop to the actual acts but, as previously mentioned, while appearing to be in tune the words were indistinguishable, however, the live band was a nice addition.
With warnings of adult content from the outset, this show is for the big kids only and unsuitable for actual children. While containing quite a lot of filler, the main acts were of a good standard. Its a good night out and although not quite as spectacular as hoped for, the freakish circus side shows brought a little magic of Coney Island to a rather less exotic Crawley for a Friday night.