Big personality of festive circus star

STEPHEN PULLINGER A feeling of wonder changes to one of slight unease as Pityu poses in photographs to emphasise his 27in height: climbing a ladder to reach eye level with a dancing girl and standing in front of a Rolls-Royce at little more than bumper level.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

It is impossible to escape an initial feeling of wonder at seeing the face of a 42-year-old man attached to the body of a small child.

The feeling changes to one of slight unease as he poses in photographs to emphasise his 27in height: climbing a ladder to reach eye level with a dancing girl and standing in front of a Rolls-Royce at little more than bumper level.

But concerns fade as clown Henri Ayala and other performers at Yarmouth's Hippodrome saunter up to Pityu (real name Istvan Toth) and shake his hand.

The interaction shows unequivocally that he is seen by his fellow artists as one of the tight-knit circus gang - certainly not part of some outmoded show.

Circus producer Peter Jay is quick to point out that Hungarian Pityu is a world-renowned performer with a range of skills from comedy to gymnastics, and even knife-throwing.

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He said: “He is trading on his talent with his fantastic act but has turned his disability into his X-factor.

“His career has brought him economic success and a great life.”

Hungarian Pityu, who is known on his circus travels around the globe as “the world's smallest superstar”, is completely unperturbed by the prospect of 500 people staring at him in the ring.

“It is no problem. This is my life,” he shrugs.

“When I go shopping and arrive at the supermarket driving my big Audi 90 people can't believe it when I get out.”

In fact it is a normal car, only with a small seat and extended pedals.

Pityu, who stands just an inch and a half taller than the world's smallest man, Jordanian Younis Edwan, stresses that in many respects his life is normal.

He is married to normal-sized knife and dagger performer Andreea, and they have a teenage daughter.

But he acknowledges his size can pose some problems.

“It's difficult getting clothes because I have to have everything handmade,” he said.

“Child sizes are no good because my shoulders are too broad.”

He is proud to be the fourth generation of a circus family, born with a genetic disorder responsible for their stature.

His father and grandfather were stars in the Budapest Lilliputian Theatre and introduced him to circus when he was just three.

Pityu, who immediately wins you over with his smile and big personality, reflected that he was a “very happy person”.

And he said he was close to finishing an autobiography, chronicling his “very rich” life.

Other stars appearing with Pityu at the Jays' Christmas circus include one of the world's greatest high wire acts, the Ayalas, from Venezuela and Mongolian acrobats, the Ganbat Troupe. The Estelle Clifton dancers and Jan Baines show swimmers will feature in a special jungle finale. To book seats for the show, which runs from December 16 to January 8, call 01493 844172.

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