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
'Amaluna' will return to London in January 2017. This review is from the 2016 run. Pity the performers in Cirque du Soleil. When they’re not doing jaw-droppingly impressive things on stage, the minutiae of ordinary life – like popping to the shops for milk, say – must be incredibly boring.Because, make no mistake, this show from the Canada-originating, world-conquering circus troupe is a spectacular piece of escapism. After premiering in Montreal in 2012, it’s at the Royal Albert Hall to mark the company’s twentieth anniversary at the venue.Loosely based on Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, with shades of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’, the show follows the trials of Miranda – daughter of the sorceress Prospero – and the shipwrecked Romeo, as they fall in love on the island of Amaluna. The multi-level set, with its massive, peacock feather-like fronds, has epic scale.At this point, there’s an expected level of slick professionalism in Cirque du Soleil’s work – and, leaving aside the slightly cheesy rock opera stylings, ‘Amaluna’ feels like a Hollywood blockbuster, with a budget to match. And yet this doesn’t take away from the thrill, thanks to its well-chosen acts and deft tonal changes.The supernatural is apt when the skill and physical prowess of the performers seems magical. But it’s not just about stunning, large-scale acrobatics performed by people dressed as animals. The proper hook to ‘Amaluna’ is its confidence in occasionally silencing the roaring guitars of the band – in
There’s something comfortingly homespun and old-fashioned about Mother Africa’s circus show, 'Khayelitsha – My Home'. Although it’s supposedly set in the Cape Flats township of Khayelitsha, and the cast bustle about the cluttered set shouting, dancing, playing about and pretending to hawk goods in between the acts, the circus skills are presented straight and largely concept-free. In keeping with the setting, the props look suitably scavenged, and not every trick comes off, but with graceful professionalism, the performers pick themselves up and nail them the second time – which adds to the charm of it all. Mother Africa, based in Tanzania, was created in 2006 as an African circus designed to find an international audience. Its talented multinational cast on this tour represent South Africa, Ethiopia and Ghana as well as Tanzania – the on-stage band’s lively accompaniment is suitably pan-African too, with sunny rumba, high-life, township funk and retooled reggae, plus some rather beautiful kora playing from Guinea’s Mamadi Diabate. The audience is at one point enjoined to take part in a drum and clap routine. The dancing includes a spirited South African gumboot dance, and something resembling a zumba class with added b-boy headspins. Circus trick-wise, we get, among other things, a gymnastic hula hoop routine, a unicyclist riding increasingly Heath Robinson-style contraptions, some impressive juggling, and a frankly terrifying “rolla rolla” act, in which Mohamed Tadei Moh
Just as the real Soho's haunts are closed down and cleaned up, this rock'n'roll spectacular celebrates London at its very buzziest. 'SOHO' is the handiwork of stadium dance company Stufish, who've got an international bunch of circus and street performers on hand to bring the district's sights to life. A young man meets a colourful crew of characters in the glamorous sleaze of London's nightlife hub, encountering the sights of Chinatown and cabaret bars on the way.
A cast of 20 super-talented acrobats flood the stage in this hit show by French circus group Compagnie XY. Featuring five-storey human towers, death-dying leaps and artful choreography, 'It's Not Yet Midnight...' mixes serious technical skill with a poignant message about the power of togetherness.