Circus of Horrors

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft

> Marina Theatre, Lowestoft

A circus of horror may seem like a contradiction in terms, and this was indeed a whole mix of deliberate contradictions.

It was a concoction of the Rocky Horror Show, Frankenstein, the Victorian freak show, stand-up comedy, a surreal end-of- pier variety and Madame Tussaud's chamber of horrors roadshow with the dance macabre.

Grateful to have taken my seat before the abuse of the warm-ups was directed at latecomers, I never relaxed into the show. But that was the point.

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A large versatile cast, complemented by a powerful light display and thumping live rock music, assaulted the audience with physical theatre, offbeat comedy and some stunning genuine circus skills.

The six-inch nail driven into the nose, the sword swallower, the ladder of swords, the trapeze artiste hanging from her hair, the limbo dancing under a burning pole, the tiny man and the unspeakable act involving a vacuum cleaner all spellbound us beside the amazing stretching skin man who drew gasps of revulsion.

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The mind boggled constantly.

These were people with different pain thresholds from most of us and, throughout, the recurring motif of “the only sure thing in life is death” was an unanswerable truth.

A rocking kaleidoscope of cutting-edge showmanship that made for an over-the-top evening in a show that thrived on grotesque, entertaining excess, with the only sour note being the 30-minute interval.

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