Big Kid Circus visited my town a couple of weeks ago and we were lucky enough to get free tickets if we bought a programme so four of us went along to watch the show. There were four of us in my party, two adults and two kids aged 11 and 4.
When the act started I thought I was in the wrong place. Angel who looks like an Ice Queen and little Billy, the youngest performer aged just eight, came out and made a strange speech about wanting to save the world and making all the children happy. I wasn't sure if this was a pantomime or some preachy environmental show at this point but it certainly didn't seem like a circus! Billy had three wishes and revealed that the first that all children would be happy, luckily for little Billy the circus was about to start to make one of his dreams come true.
The clowns then came out and I knew I was in the right place. As far as clowns go they weren't particularly funny but the kids giggled along at the slapstick humour. The clown also did some pretty poor juggling, even I can juggle three oranges and I’ve not spent my life practicing.
Then on to the main acts. All of the usual suspects were there including a trampoline act, a hula hooper, a trapeze and some dancing. The first act which really caught my eye was called "Hair Raising" which was performed by Bulgarian Nadia Ganeva. She was twirled round wearing a butterfly costume suspended by her hair. Ouch! My eyes were watering watching that.
The second great act was the wheel of death. Two performers spun around in cages joined by a huge pole and then performed various feats such as walking on top of the cages blindfold. We were on the edge of our seats watching that act.
At the interval, little Billy and Angel made an appearance again. Billy had another wish, this time that all the children would be fed. Luckily there was a concessions stand where the children present could buy popcorn, candy floss and dodgy looking burgers at inflated prices. Phew, no child present that day needed to starve, what a relief.
We also took the opportunity to get the kids photo taken with Spiderman for £3, receiving a digital print with red eye at the end of the show.
My overall impression of the circus is fairly positive. It is certainly not the best circus I have ever visited but not the worst either. As an adult I wasn't wowed by any of the acts but it was nice to see a live performance for a change. The kids loved it, especially the four year old.
Going to the circus isn't cheap. An adult ticket costing between £11 and £23 and a kids between £9 and £20 so for a family it is an expensive couple of hours entertainment. We were in the cheap seats at the side and the performers played to the front only so it is definitely worth paying extra to upgrade if you visit. An added bonus if you buy the most expensive grandstand seats is that the audience participation is centred around that area, conversely, you can avoid these seats if you don’t want to be hauled into the ring, made to perform and given a lollipop for your trouble.
Would I recommend? I'm not sure. The circus generally only visits each town once every couple of years so it's a nice treat to go along. It’s a performance that will wow the kids but not the adults and it makes a nice change to see live acts so it is probably worth it to let your kids experience what the circus has to offer.
Big Kid Circus is a UK based production that tours different towns and cities, for more information about the tour dates go to http://www.bigkidcircus.com/