Christmas Circus Spectacular, Yarmouth

STEPHEN PULLINGER For a great family outing over the holiday period you will struggle to top Peter Jay's Christmas Circus at Yarmouth Hippodrome.


For a great family outing over the holiday period you will struggle to top Peter Jay's Christmas Circus at Yarmouth Hippodrome.

That's the official verdict of EDP's junior critics, six-year-old Paige and her friends Lisette and Katie from Cliff Park First School, Gorleston.

Far from flagging by the end of the two-hour show, Paige and Katie had actually left their seats and were dancing in the aisles.

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Gallons of cola, chocolate and a mountain of popcorn were not enough to distract them from the non-stop action on stage.

And glancing round the atmospheric building, about to celebrate its centenary year, it was clear that adults were enjoying themselves as well.

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Forget all your prejudices about circuses when you enter the Hippodrome. Peter Jay's Christmas show is definitely not the soporific experience you might remember from your youth.

Those hackneyed acts and unfunny clowns have vanished and been replaced by exciting, fresh talent recruited from all corners of the globe.

And at a time when many people are feeling lethargic after consuming too much festive food, this show must be heartily recommended as a seasonal breath of fresh air.

As always, Mr Jay has used his contacts in the international world of circus to create a spectacle of extraordinary variety.

There were plenty of oohs and aahs as heads turned to watch the Julio Troupe from Bulgaria perform their gravity-defying springboard act. And Vladislav from Russia lived up to his billing as “the man who can fly”.

One of the highlights has to be the performance of Berkin, the rubber man from Kazakhstan.

Incredibly, in an act he has been perfecting from the age of six, he folds his limbs and manages to squeeze into a 14in box. He also performs the most amazing contortions.

Su So, who was a hit in Mr Jay's touring Circus of the Streets this year, brings clowning up-to-date and gets the audience involved.

The Estelle Clifton dancers bring their usual energy and more than a touch of glamour.

It is always startling to see the Hippodrome's water spectacle – one of only three left throughout the world – come into play in the second half. Water fills the arena to herald the entrance of the Jan Baines show swimmers.

The second year of the Christmas Circus's revival at the Hippodrome is proving a record-breaker, with bookings already topping last year's total takings.

Judging by the reaction of the audience last night, success can be ensured for years to come.

The circus runs until Sunday January 5. To book tickets ring 01493 844172.

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