Review: The Circus Of Horrors @ New Theatre
It's been a long time since I first saw the Circus Of Horrors. It must be going on ten years now. Since that time a lot has happened. Acts have come and gone. Garry Stretch always comes to mind (how could you forget him?!) and they have even appeared on Britain's Got Talent. I did find their application for the show very surprising and unnecessary. They are one of this country's most famous circus acts today. Why apply for a show where it's mainly for those who are starting out or amateur? All to do with publicity really: "As seen on Britain's Got Talent!"
Although this claimed to be a new show of theirs, I can see little difference from my first visit. Garry Stretch was nowhere to be seen, but we were acquainted with a certain Hannibal Hellmurto. This guy was a genuine curiosity, but apparently a reply nice chap. Having nearly died last year after a lit neon tube pushed a forty-millimetre hole in his oesophagus, his act all but rests on the strength of his throat. Not only is he a sword-swallower, he balances weights with the strength of his nose, is covered in tattoos, has a cosmetically altered tongue to look like a snake's, has his top two ribs dislocated and has actual mammoth ivory encrusted in his teeth. Oh, and his previous job in Germany was a tax inspector. I kid you not.
I may even surprise myself by saying how much I enjoyed the show. You don't need to be a fan of heavy metal, violent horror films or a practitioner of the dark arts. There is rock music played by their own band, but it never over shadows the acts before us. The voodoo troupe are also great but my mind tends to wonder when they perform. It loses its grip on the audience, especially when it's pitch black and they are in glowing skeleton outfits, what I regarded as the weakest part of the show and also seen the first time round.
If you are going, as I have said in other articles, try not to sit in the stalls. These poor souls are inflicted with fake blood, water, half-naked cast members crawling over their seats and volunteers being picked for unmentionable deeds. As expected a fair deal of the audience were on the Goth side. But the theme was Berlin in the 1920s and 30s, the golden age of circus, cabaret and other alternate types of theatre.
Our emcee for the evening was Douglas Disorderly and he certainly got some good laughs out of the audience. He dismayed every time a performer got water on the stage and very grumpily went to get a mop to clean it up. Other acts included a lady who dangles in the air from her own hair, two nonchalant dolls with a knack for hanging from cloths and a dwarf with his privates up a Henry Hoover... I do recall last time I saw it, Dr Haze (who created the show originally and is their most familiar face) whilst in a box, is cut in half with a saw thus killing him, with a brief pause for him only then to start singing rather hilariously I Will Survive.
Granted, as warned at the beginning, this show is certainly not for the faint hearted or those without a strong stomach. It's not as much horror as you envisaged. But it is a great night out. Especially if you fancy something a bit different as well.
After this and the burlesque show, I must find some time to simmer down and gently fan myself, recovering from all the madness and mayhem.
Related Article: Review: House Of Burlesque: Shipwrecked @ New Theatre