Circus of Horrors, Norwich
JOHN LAWSON There were no clowns, no elephants, no performing seals – but hey, what do you need that sort of thing for when you have Wasp Boy, a driving rock band and enough fake blood to keep Dracula happy.
There were no clowns, no elephants, no performing seals – but hey, what do you need that sort of thing for when you have Wasp Boy, a driving rock band and enough fake blood to keep Dracula happy.
Welcome to the Big Top from hell, the stuff of nightmares, the unique night out that is the Circus of Horrors.
With white-faced rocker Doktor Haze as MC, we are led through acts which come under the category “Why?”
Wasp Boy (aka Sebastian Vittorini) is a stick thin sword swallower – but he doesn't stop at swords, oh no. Our Seb ingests coat hangers, a handful of vicious-looking stilettos at the same time, and an illuminated neon tube.
And that's when he hasn't got gongs and bells hanging from a meat hook through his pierced tongue.
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Shock is the name of the game – and it's certainly shocking to see Gary Stretch, who can pull the skin from his neck over his face, and appeared in the finale with loose skin adorned with hundreds of clothes pegs.
Not to mention Wasp Boy's other talent for being charged up with enough electricity to illuminate the neon tubes just by holding them and releasing sparks from his fingers to ignite a flaming torch.
In between, there are a string of impressive balancing, strength and aerial acts – each time with a twist.
For Circus of Horrors is not about people ambling on, doing an act and disappearing. This is an all-around theatrical event, with every member of the cast playing a part from beginning to end.
Even the lighting guy gets in on the act, berating the audience for not taking their seats, while the merchandise-seller gets hauled on stage to have his foot chain-sawn off.
Circus of Horrors is a hot property, selling out stadiums across the world since their debut to an amazed Glastonbury Festival in 1995.
But this visit to Norwich is their first – make sure they come back by packing the Playhouse for their remaining four performances.
t Performances are at 6pm and 9pm this Thursday and Friday, January 23-24. Tickets £15 (£10 concessions). Box office: 01603 598598.