Although you'll not see any lions being 'tamed' in massive stripy tents, London's modern circus scene is far more jaw-dropping than the suspicious magicians and caged animals of old. Have your breath taken away with your pick from our list of London circus shows.
Circus shows in London
This review is of the show's 2014 run. The show returns to London Wonderground in August 2015. Wow. There’s really no other ejaculation worthy of this show. It’s an eye-popping spectacle that is both fabulously sexy and seriously clever. There’s never even a hint of anti-climax. And you’ll definitely leave wanting more, more, more.After wowing the crowds at this year’s Glastonbury, Brisbane’s Briefs boys have brought their deliciously fuck-you swagger to the South Bank. Comprising six Aussies and one New Yorker, ‘The Second Coming’ is like a blazing disco ball of energy exploding in a nightclub that’s inside a theatre, inside a circus tent.Compered with the driest and dirtiest wit by high heel-wearing, bearded Shivannah, the show is a raucous blend of impressive circus skills, burlesque and cabaret. It’s imaginative, playfully perverse and crammed with pin-sharp references to everything from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to ‘Pulp Fiction’.This is intelligent, self-aware entertainment. The performers are as sexy as hell – and knowingly flirty – but what really raises the temperature here is the sheer skill anchoring it all. Thom Worrell’s aerial acrobatics are mesmerising while Evil Hate Monkey’s banana ballet is a comic masterpiece. What makes them so hot is how talented they are.Bodysuit-wearing drag performer Dallas Dellaforce manages to say more about gender conventions in ten brilliant minutes than many hours of earnest theatre; and youngest member of the line-up, Louis Biggs,Read more
'La Soiree' returns to London over Christmas 2015. This review is of the show's run in 2014. From its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, to the celebration of its tenth birthday at the South Bank today, circus-burlesque show ‘La Soireé’ has ooh-la-la’d around the world. And this slick – sometimes eye-popping – piece of entertainment has picked up performers from across the globe for this latest run.The mirrored Spiegeltent is a great setting for the show’s acrobatics-with-a-twist, from Swedish duo David and Fofo’s ping pong ball-sharing trapeze act to NYC burlesque artist Tanya Gagné’s gender-bending mid-air striptease. At its best, this is provocative fun blended with astonishing physical skill and prowess.Fittingly, there’s some mocking of national stereotypes here, too, including Denis Lock and Hamish McCann as the bowler-hatted, pinstriped English Gents. Their act – comprising feats of strength and balance that look effortless – will make any other way of reading a newspaper seem boring.The show takes a little while to find its feet, with a first half that falters under the weight of some clunky sex gags. If anything, these aren’t risqué enough – trading clever shocks for obviousness. And Scotty the Blue Bunny’s anti-theatrical, confrontational schtick is stretched even thinner than his blue spandex bodysuit.But wiry American Marcus Monroe’s dry commentary as he juggles blades is great, as is Australian comic Asher Treleaven’s hilarious reading of Mills and Boon. TheRead more
Twenty Shaolin monks take to the stage in this extravaganza of martial arts which will give an insight into how the practise of Kung Fu came about. Expect superhuman physical feats of endurance alongside a nice bit of history about the monks and their philosophy. They break marble slabs with their heads, do handstands on finger tips and splinter wooden staves with just their bodies.Read more
Circus company Upswing stage this lovely-sounding show for children and families which tucks up audiences into beds around the stage. The piece uses 3D animation, music and circus to tell the tale of the little girl whose bedtime story is interrupted by her mum's work. The little girl and her imaginary friend Three embark upon a journey to bring her back. Ages 5-plus.Read more