Reviewed by The Magic Hatter
This is our third visit to Paulos Circus, and the 2019 Rockets Tour promises new acts along with familiar favourites. We went to the 4.30pm Sunday show and arrived to the signature pink tent, amongst crowds of excited circus-goers!
Once inside, the usual flashing wands and refreshments are available – including popcorn and hot dogs, soft drinks and even beer and cider. Since the release of The Greatest Showman circus popularity is on the rise again, and it was great to see an almost full house spanning all ages.
The shown opens with an introduction from ringmaster Leigh Darnell, looking as dapper as ever in a glittering top hat and blue tails. A tightrope act followed high in the rafters, featuring several clever tricks, stunts and tiny bicycles. I really enjoyed the Steampunk style of the costumes, one of the ways that Paulos fuses traditional with modern.
My wife particularly enjoyed the elegant aerial act, and it’s the first time I’d seen it performed with a net rather than silks or ropes. A slick knife-throwing and crossbow act highlighted the real risks than some circus performers take, and drew gasps from the audience.
No circus would be complete without juggling but the innovation here was that cups and bottles were used in a bar setting. This high-energy act was polished and professional, and a refreshing change to balls, clubs or hoops.
Furniture-Jenga sprung to mind as a mime stacked chairs higher and higher, and balanced on them at precarious angles. Truly a feat of dexterity and core strength! Unicycle tricks and more bicycle-fun kept the show pacy.
A strongman routine was given another modern makeover with a superhero twist; the strongman in question dressed in lycra and bending metal, punching nails into wood, dragging a car by his mouth and being run over by it!
The Light Fantastic
Having seen many circuses over the past few years, laser acts seem to have become a staple of the modern show. I’ve seen many variations but this was honestly the best yet, with the action framed as an epic laser battle – giving the light show and choreography a storyline, all set to a pumping soundtrack.
Send in the Clowns
Mr N is the light relief, and breaks up the acts with sight gags, slapstick and audience participation. A likeable clown, doing away with the usual red nose and wacky attire but still engaging and playful. We do miss Patchy the Clown though!
Negatives? It’s hard to find fault when over an hour of quality entertainment costs around the same as a few cups of coffee, and my niggles are only minor. As enjoyable as the laser battle was, we preferred the drama and skill of last year’s Wheel of Death as a finale. And there was a little disappointment that a large inflatable was used as a safety net under the Los Sanchez tightrope act…it’s not that I want people to risk their lives unnecessarily, but just that all previous circuses I’ve been to haven’t used safety nets.
However, Paulos Circus offers exceptional value for money. All seats are £7 per person, whether adult or child. Unlike other circuses we’ve been to, prices are the same for each seating area so it’s worth arriving early to get the best view. There are vouchers in local businesses for another £2 off the ticket price. A fiver for family fun? Can’t argue with that!
At 1 hour 10 minutes without an interval, the show is an ideal length for even the youngest family members who, even if they didn’t appreciate all of the acts, were transfixed by the colours, lights, sounds and smells of the circus. Done well, circus is truly a feast for the senses!
My five-year-old and two-year-old sons were generally captivated throughout, and we enjoyed sharing the circus experience as a family. Looking around, there were many smiles and looks of wonder from young and old, and – ultimately – that’s what it’s all about!
VALUE FOR MONEY
Paulos Circus is appearing until Sunday 12th May at Roko Health Club, Stirling Road, York, YO30 4TU. More details at www.greatestshowman.co.uk
Disclaimer: Tickets were kindly provided for this performance, however all opinions are honest and are our own.