Showzam! leaps, jumps and twirls into action

PIC: Iain Lynn'Abigail Collins' performance at the Showzam! Ball in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool
PIC: Iain Lynn'Abigail Collins' performance at the Showzam! Ball in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool
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Quite what murderous abuser Bill Sykes and Nancy, of Oliver the musical fame, or Where’s Wally? have to do with ‘romance through the ages’ is anyone’s guess.

But that was kind of the point at Saturday night’s Showzam! Carnival Ball - anything goes, and it certainly went.

PIC: Iain Lynn'Matt Walsh from Blackpool is roped into Abigail Collins' performance at the Showzam! Ball in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

PIC: Iain Lynn'Matt Walsh from Blackpool is roped into Abigail Collins' performance at the Showzam! Ball in the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

Hundreds of carnival lovers packed into Blackpool Tower ballroom for one of the festival highlights, giving some of the five-day event’s stars a chance to shine under the glittering chandeliers.

Costumes were certainly varied at the party; as well as our tragic Dickensian lovers and children’s book hero, Cinderella, Adam Ant, an RAF pilot and an Edwardian lady were all spotted among the throng.

It was a night of modern variety that Britain’s Got Talent would be proud of, albeit that most of the stars came from overseas.

Compere for the night was the acclaimed Jonny Woo, but the real stars of the show were the acts, which included a heart-stopping turn by Showzam! headliners Circolombia.

Aerial silks performers Starfiz got the show on the road with a Moulin Rouge routine that left the audience gasping as they plunged to the floor, tied in red silk knots, followed by the somewhat bemusing Banard, Hicks and Jones, who removed clothes, sprinkled talc and revealed togas - yes, their act was that simple. They weren’t the only performers with a generous dose of cheek to their turn; Abi Collins’ Russian ballet diva provided plenty of risque giggles, while the Magmanus lads almost gave us the Full Monty while somersaulting off a see-saw.

Kumpania Algazarra’s infectious Latin brass rhythms (think Madness covered in a generous dollop of salsa) couldn’t fail to get revellers on to the dancefloor - well, all except my own other half, and the party was well and truly started by the time they handed over to Broken Hearts DJs for a suitably retro set that went long into the night.

And if the acts or partygoers were a bit bleary-eyed yesterday morning, it wasn’t showing on the other side of the town centre as Showzam! Central sprung into life.

Where Saturday night was an adults only affair, Showzam! Central at the Winter Gardens was fabulous fun for all the family.

Pete Sweet totally lives up to his name, charming the crowds with his geek chic clowning turn and trickery, and Essex girl Abi was back in action as another Russian altar-ego whipping her hula hoops into a frenzy - surely inspiring many of the children taking part in a hoop decorating craft session next door in the Horseshoe.

Also drawing in the crowds were Magmanus, a delightfully mismatched pairing combining juggling, handstands and some brilliantly cringe-worthy audience participation to delight all ages.

Out on the streets, stilt walkers paraded as dinosaurs and a jet-propelled rollerbladers whizzed by, with background music provided by a musical milkfloat.

We packed all this into just over an hour, and were sorry to leave as the day only just seemed to be getting going.

So make the most of these international treats, on your doorstep - and all for free.

Anna Cryer

* Showzam! continues today and tomorrow, at the Winter Gardens and around the town centre. Circolombia perform at 2.30pm at Blackpool Tower Circus until Wednesday. Circus and performance workshops are running at the Pleasure Beach, and heritage tours are also on the bill.

Visit www.showzam,co.uk for full details.

Anna Cryer