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You are in: Norfolk » Going Out » Stage

22 July 2004 1402 BST
Picture: Tony Mallion Hippodrome Circus 2004

review by: Tony Mallion

This production rated: Four stars out of five

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Picture: The Rodgels flying on the trapeeze in the roof of the Hippodrome Circus
The Rodogels
Twenty-five years since Peter Jay took over the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth, sees a return to tradition for the show's silver anniversary.

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Hippodrome Circus

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360° view of Hippodrome Circus

Hippodrome circus centenary

Circus Hilarious

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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. Forget it!

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.

Piocture: Danny Adams: link
Danny Adams

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.

Picture: Zoe Fausto
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 to watch.

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 talented artists.

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 enjoy it.



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