Every once in a while, a press trip comes along that is an absolute dream come true, because not only does it give me some fantastic pictures and a great story to share with you, but it makes my son laugh for two hours solid too. Monday night delivered such a trip. My family and I went to along to see Zippos Circus at the Low Green in Ayr. We were gifted tickets to see the show and have some snacks, but all opinions are my own.
If you live in the UK, you might have seen posters for Zippos Circus around over the years. I know I have. They were recently in my area as part of the Big Top 2019 Tour – The Magnificent Top Hat but then moved on before coming back for the shows in Ayr. The ringmaster was Norman Barrett MBE. In case you don’t know who he is, but many of you will, he’s a veteran and possibly one of the most famous ringmasters around, if not THE most famous. I remember seeing him on This Is Your Life when I was a wee girl. He’s also got the Guinness World Record for the being the world’s longest-serving ringmaster. So, seeing him made it a pretty special night to begin with.
There were so many “wow” moments, I don’t know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the Mongolian contortionist. She appeared in a jar. I’m not even kidding, she was curled up inside an actual jar, as you can see from the photo. How she got in there is anyone’s guess. She didn’t seem to have much trouble coming out of it. She then went on to fire a bow and arrow with her feet. For someone who, at times, struggles to climb in and out of the bath without getting into a cramp, this was an incredible act.
Then there were a group of Kenyan tumblers who appeared numerous times throughout the night. They’re super talented and just seem to bounce and roll around the ring. What’s it like to have that much energy? They also did a limbo act where they performed under a limbo pole that was on fire.
There was also a group of springboard acrobats from Cuba called Revolution. At first I thought they were simply dancers but then this mattress appeared. I knew there was something bigger coming. So, what they basically do is use a see-saw to springboard each other into the air, where they revolve and obviously stay graceful and then they land perfectly onto the mattress. It’s impressive! You can see it on my Instagram story, which is pinned to my profile.
The highlight for my family were the team of Brazilian motorcyclists – also known as the Globe of Death Lucius Team. Now, the first time I saw the Globe of Death, I was intrigued. It looks like a giant cat toy.
Then they wheeled it into the centre of the ring as the last act before the interval. They opened it up and the motorcyclists started driving in, one by one. You see the first and you think, this is crazy. This guy is driving a motobike inside a ball shaped cage and not toppling over. Amazing. Then the second guy goes in and it’s even more impressive, but when a woman stands in the middle of the cage and they manage to do it with her in there? My blood pressure hit the roof. Thankfully, the woman stepped out but then three more motorcyclists went into the cage. They’re so skilled and brave. Rather them than me!
There were numerous other acts – too many talented people to mention individually. I do love the acts that perform at height but the exclusion of a net or mattress terrifies me. They also do that thing where they make themselves drop a few inches really quickly and you can almost feel everyone in the room panicking. You certainly hear all the gasps. I’ve included a few videos in pinned my Instagram stories so you can see for yourself how these acrobats created an atmosphere that was electric within the ring.
What else can I say? Knife throwers, foot jugglers, people who dance with fire? Norman Barrett’s famous budgie show? I have to leave something to the imagination and let those planning to go to Zippos Circus experience it for themselves! But I do want to say a little about Paulo Dos Santos, my son’s new hero. To be honest, he stole the show. He’s not only a martial artist and acrobat who displays incredible strength and skill, but also a hilarious comedian and quite simply, a phenomenal showman. He entertains and excites inside the ring, but has that unique connection with the crowd that few possess. He broke down the invisible walls between performers and audience. I just love him! He’s awesome.
Ok, so to round up, here are a few facts that people might like to know before going.
- The seats are comfortable, especially if you get the ringside seats which are padded and covered in velvet.
- The toilets: Take extra toilet paper in your bag in case they run out because they get busy.
- Popcorn is £5 per tub, as is candyfloss. They take contactless payments throughout the circus for snacks and souvenirs.
- The only animals involved are budgies in Norman Barrett’s part of the show.
- The show lasts around 2 hours with an interval that lasted around 20 minutes.
- They offer face painting for kids
Tickets for Zippos Circus cost between £7.50 for kids or £9 for adults and £27.50 for the best seats in the house/tent and if you use the code ZIP50 you can get 30% off the price of your tickets. Personally, I’d recommend buying ringside seats if you can. It really does make a big difference to your circus experience. Here’s a quick list of where and when you can catch the rest of the 2019 Zippos Circus tour.
5 – 10 September – Fulham
12 – 17 September – Twickenham
24 – 29 September – Peckham Rye
1 – 6 October – Guildford
8 – 13 October – Rochester
15 – 20 October – Finsbury Park
22 – 27 October – Hampstead Heath