Circus of Horrors assauges the senses

Grand Opera House 'York '2010
Grand Opera House 'York '2010

EVENT: Circus of Horrors: The Four Chapters of Hell

VENUE: Futurist Theatre, Scarborough

REVIEW BY: Catherine Goble

Circus of Horrors was an eclectic mixture of music, physical skill and gross-out talents. A strange choice for Scarborough, perhaps.

The audience was made up almost entirely of students, at whom the show is undoubtedly aimed, and most of them seemed to be caught up in the crude, but impressive, exploits of the performers, who ranged from a lady who swung from the ceiling suspended only by her hair, to a dwarf who attached a bowling ball to his genitalia.

The pre-show warm-up was amateurish and used a lot of swearing and innuendo, which gave me concerns for the rest of the show. But, luckily, these worries disappeared during the main action. Although sex and innuendo played a large part in the show, it was balanced and predominantly tastefully achieved.

My favourite act was probably a pair of roller skaters on a round trampoline, who combined to produce jaw-dropping feats of balance and spectacle.

Other notable contributors included three acrobats - known as the Aztec Warriors - and a girl who could bend herself into all sorts of unlikely positions, ending with her shooting a bow and arrow at a target, using only her feet.

I wish I were that flexible.

Parts of the show seemed to drag on, the intention of which was probably to allow each member of the overall ensemble an equal amount of time to shine individually. The sword-swallower even walked round the entire auditorium for a good five minutes, allowing the audience to touch his floating ribs (he’d had an operation especially to be able to perform his daredevil feat) before he actually attempted to swallow any swords.

The show was billed as having a proper plot and storyline running thorugh it, but there was no obvious sign of this within the performance. However, it is possible those actors who were singing were narrating, of sorts, but we could not hear the words over the sound of the band.

Although something so obviously graphic and rude would not normally be my thing, Circus of Horrors was not actually offensive (apart from the dwarf moment - he had an unhealthy fascination with his own nether parts throughout the show) and showed off some genuine skills and surprising talents. It is clear to see why they are celebrating their 15th year.