Bethan Shuff || March 14th
Back in 2011, Circus of Horrors made it through to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent, but have since developed their performances into massively weird and wonderful live shows.
Before the show began, we were greeted by Camp Dracula, a brutally honest, blunt, sweary vampire who took a liking to audience member Dan and tried to read his mind ‘are you going to allow me to come inside you?’ he asked Dan. The audience were roaring with laughter. After failing to read Dan’s mind, he ran off and a voice shouted ‘I am not Alice, and this is not Wonderland’. Over the speakers was a voice like out of a horror movie, entertainingly presenting the house rules and adding ‘this show is not for people of a nervous disposition, sissies, or chavs’.
The show had a musical based narrative and the entertainers sung some classic rock songs throughout the show as the performed. There was a scene that looked as though it was based on the film The Exorcist, with a performer writhing in bed whilst other performers sung Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics. The girl on the bed was risen into the air, revealing that the bedspread was actually a gorgeous long gown. When returned to the ground, the girl performed a contorted gymnastic routine, and even balanced her entire body weight on her teeth.
In the next scene we met a steampunk sword swallower, who had had all of his ribs surgically broken, his tongue forked, and more ink on his skin than blood in his veins. Volunteer Dan was dragged back up onto the stage by Camp Dracula and the girls. There was a comedic scene featuring an argument which resulted in Camp Dracula being thrown into a giant washing machine and being ‘shrunk’. At the end of the wash cycle, the door opened and out climbed a dwarf. A dwarf that likes to get his private bits out… a lot. He ate a glass light bulb, opened a bottle of beer with his eye socket and ran around the stage with a Henry Hoover attached to his hoo-har.
They threw the miniature Camp Dracula into the washing machine and with a huge bang, out climbed four gymnastic skeletons. The four men were incredibly strong and were able to get into some outstanding balance poses and lifts. Some of them didn’t look humanly possible. These guys returned later in the show as warriors performing a really energetic routine of dancing and flips, as well as a lift that involved one guy head-standing on top of another guy’s head.
Following the skeletons was a roller-skating duo performing some incredibly dangerous stunts. Lifts are difficult enough to perform static, but putting the act on wheels is just crazy. At one point, the girl was swung around in the splits position by the man’s neck!
I will mention now that the show isn’t one for someone with Coulrophobia. As a duo sung ‘I hate that clown’ the audience’s attention was flung to the back of the room where a clown was laughing in the centre of the stalls. He made his way to the stage and everyone was watching the front. Before we knew it there was a plague of clowns climbing over our seats and terrorising audience members. The poor bloke beside me had a clowns arm down the back of his jumper and was getting tickled.
The sword swallower performed some stunts that would be fatal if they were to go wrong, swallowing a 90 degree angled curved blade, a saw and swallowing blades whilst hanging upside down in the air. The ringmaster tells us of how dangerous this act is, and how, should it go wrong, he would pierce his oesophagus… again.
Each scene in the show was more intense and exciting than the next, a girl swung from the ceiling by her hair, the clowns sawed one of the girls in half and finally there was a huge all-singing all-crazy finale. This is a show for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies, but definitely not one for the faint-hearted.