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
After a worldwide tour, Quebecois troupe Flip FabriQue are caterpaulting into Southbank's Underbelly Festival with their circus show 'Catch Me (Attrape Moi)'. They'll perform astonishing acrobatic feats in front of a giant blackboard, which they'll chalk messages on or hurtle across. Their show also includes hula-hooping, juggling, and plenty of kid-friendly silliness.
I’m lost in the jungle. Metta Theatre have shifted Rudyard Kipling’s classic children’s story onto the streets of London. Baloo is now a beat-boxing bin man, Bagheera a graffiti artist, Shere Khan a street gangster, and jungle-lad Mowgli – a feisty woman and a mean gymnast. They may or may not still be animals; it’s quite hard to tell. There’s such imagination in here, and heaps of brilliant circus and street dancing skills – but it’s also pretty baffling and perhaps a little too edgy (Sheere Khan mimics shooting poor Mowgli at one point) for a family crowd. Director Poppy Burton-Morgan is trying to push circus into bold new areas – but she hasn’t quite made the leap. Most of the skills on display – trapeze work, pole dancing and beat-boxing – are essentially solo disciplines. That makes it hard for the cast to gel, despite some inspired choreography from ZooNation’s Kendra J Horsburgh. The styles also clash. Stefan Puxon is a sparky beat boxer but phrases like – ‘To you I’m invisible, a figure derisible’ – fly right over the children’s heads. There’s a mesmerizing pole-dancing routine from Nathalie Alison as sinister snake Kaa – but it doesn’t help the story. After Mowgli (Natalie Nicole James) flees the jungle, she tries to bond with her mother. Endless dance sequences – such as ballroom dancing and ballet - are disrupted as Mowgli struggles to adapt. It’s a neat idea but - once again - goes on for much too long. The curtain-call is the best ‘scene’ of the night. Freed
As the kiddie-baiting title amply demonstrates, Aussie circus group Circus Trick Tease like a joke. 'Children are Stinky' is a family comedy show that mixes zany humour and amazing feats of dare-devilry, including acrobatics, chair-balancing, and hula-hooping that'll put the most talented ten-year-old to shame.
Cirque du Soleil are back at the Royal Albert Hall with another super-lavish circus show. This time round, they're celebrating the world of insects. Crews of quirky characters including ants, grasshoppers and spiders will perform routines that bring the world's most populous species to life. 'OVO' has a carnival feel, with samba-tinged sounds and bustling spectacle. Expect aerial routines, foot-juggling, trampolining, and a bright and beautiful array of neon creepy crawly-inspired costumes. Oh, and are you baffled by the name 'OVO'? Squint and it looks a bit like a bug's head.
This ramshackle and resolutely nasty circus troupe celebrate turning 21 with a new show. Circus of Horrors' 'The Never Ending Nightmare' is a mix of squirm-inducing stunts, loosely tied together with a narrative that takes an 'Alice in Wonderland' inspired journey into the bizarre.
This stunt-fuelled solo show is a journey into Aurora Galore's no-holds-barred burlesque persona. She'll mix high-octane fire tricks, dancing, filthy jokes and comedy in a performance set to an electronic soundtrack, featuring costumes any self-respecting drag queen would kill for.