For this year's silver anniversary summer show,
it's back to basics at the Hippodrome Circus with a case
of send in the clowns.
If it's laughter you're after then this is the
place to be. There are those who may groan
at this very idea. If there's anything guaranteed to put people
off going to the circus its childhood memories of unfunny clowns.
Peter Jay is no fool when it comes to putting on
a show and he's gone for a brilliant comedian in Danny Adams.
Danny and his father Clive Webb were at the Hippodrome
at Easter with their own production of Circus Hilarious.
I said then that Danny Adams was a new find, a
genuinely funny and highly talented young performer.
It's no surprise that Peter Jay snapped them up
for this summer - and next too.
It's the typical set up of the straight man - in
this case Clive Webb who is is the ringmaster figure - with Danny
as the annoying comic who's going to mess things up.
The jokes may be a bit corny, but they do make
you laugh and Danny's sheer energy and infectious personality is
a real winner with old and young alike.
I've had some laughs at the Hippodrome over the
years, but there was one moment in this show - and I'm not going
to spoil it - when Danny had me in hysterics.
This is clowning for the 21st century. The
rest of the show is also bang up to date stuff as disco meets circus
with loud modern music.
Estelle Clifton and her dancers, superb lighting
designed by Ben Jay, slick entrances and the Hippodrome's crowning
glory - the sinking ring which fills with those thousands of gallons
of water and Jan Baines' show swimmers. It's a feast for the eyes.
From popcorn seller to circus star - Zoe Fausto.
For the first time we have the debut of a local
girl who has been trained at the Hippodrome.
What a debut it is too from Zoe Fausto, who's mum
Helen runs the front of house ice-creams and pop corn.
Now after two years hard work on the aerial rope
with ring manager and former circus artist Tony Rossouw, she's blossomed
into an attractive act at the age of 17. It's beautiful, skilful
and well choreographed.
The Hungarian Balazs is quite amazing, first on
the German wheel (that's the big one where he rides round the ring
spread eagled inside it). It looks so deceptively
simple yet it's a great display of strength and beauty.
Outstanding too are the Voladas troupe, a group
of top athletes from Belarus who swing over and around horizontal
bars, skills which, in a matter of weeks, we'll think are incredible
at the Olympics. This has to be seen to be believed and is a highlight
of the show.
Nickolay Nickolov returns to the show flying around
the ring on aerial straps, but the big difference is that he's part
of the water spectacle and instead of trying to keep dry he swoops
through the water and the fountains. It might
mean those on the ringside get a bit of a shower, but it is a wonder
Then there's Anastasia with hoola-hoops, an act
which really benefits from the lighting and later she returns with
an elegant acrobatic routine.
I'm not quite so sure about the Rodogels on the
trapeze. A great act of course, but this is the third time we've
seen them in a row.
This is an action-packed two and half hours which
is terrific value for money.
Peter Jay's circuses have always set high standards
and it needs to be emphasised that this is a show.
It's got all those production values of music,
lighting, costume and choreography on top of which are incredibly
People have really got into the habit of turning
out for Big Top circuses at the Royal Norfolk Showground and paying
far more for seats.
This one's got so much more going for it in the
wonderful Hippodrome building - so go the miles to the coast and