Mookie and Co notch 25 years at Tower Circus

Mooky the Clown and Mr Boo.  The Blackpool Tower Circus  PICTURE www.jasonlock.co.uk

Mooky the Clown and Mr Boo. The Blackpool Tower Circus PICTURE www.jasonlock.co.uk

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The Tower Circus is without doubt one of Blackpool’s grandest spaces.

From the ornate Victorian ceiling hang lighting gantries, a flying trapeze and a gantry on which, delicately balances is a full sized motorbike.

Sitting in the front row, taking it all in - cup of tea in hand - is Laci Endresz Junior, perhaps better known to most by his stage persona Mooky.

He is just one member of the Endresz family who have been pulling the strings at Blackpool’s permanent big top for the past 25 years.

The Endresz family, led by Laci Senior - a sixth generation Circus family member and star of the trapeze who graduated from the Hungarian Circus Academy - arrived on the Fylde coast in 1991.

An incredible quarter of a century later they are still Blackpool’s undisputed kings of the ring.

“Who would have thought back in the early 90s we’d still be here 25 years on,” said Laci Junior, who along with brother Bubu is the star of the modern day circus.

The man who would become Mooky was a teenage juggler when he first unpacked his bags on the Fylde coast.

His brother, known to thousands of children and parents as Mr Boo, was a three-year-old boy, his earliest memories set in the shadow of the Tower.

“I thought we’d be here for a season, maybe two,” said Laci Jnr.

“Before we came here we’d travelled around.

“We’d performed with some fantastic circuses but nothing like this.

“It’s corny to say but when I first walked into this building I was very impressed, it takes your breath away.

“Even to this day before a show starts I’ll go up to the balcony and take it all in.

“I think one day, when I get to retiring age - I don’t know what that is for a clown – it’ll all come to an end.”

Circus is most certainly in the Endresz blood.

But for the youngest generation there is also a strong bond to Blackpool, to a building they quite literally call home.

Bubu said: “I was three-years-old when we came here.

“This is my whole life.

“One of my first memories was walking into the circus from the back of the stalls.”

When the Endresz family arrived the Tower Circus was still adjusting to the modern era. And more than a quarter of a century they have certainly moulded the place in their own image.

Every aspect of the show gets the family treatment, from the acts to the scripts to the props, which the stars of the show are more than happy to build themselves.

“Dad’s on a world tour at the moment,” said Laci Jnr, explaining the septuagenerian circus supermo’s absence.

“He’s been to Russia, Ukraine, Berlin and Cuba to find new acts, new talent.

“The work has already begun on the new shows.

“Things have to overlap because when you’re bringing talent from around the world it can get very complicated.

“But he’s still checking on us.

“He calls every day asking how many were in, how the show has gone.”

Talent scouting is just one of the many jobs the family take on themselves.

“We have all the music to prepare,” said Laci Jnr.

“We’re very lucky still to have a live band but we have to be writing and thinking about music months ahead.

“There’s the costumes, we deal with that ourselves.

“And we build all the props at home, often as we go. There’s something about doing it that way, with the family.

“If I build the props I get ideas for the script.

“It’s very different to sitting down with a blank slate.”

For Mooky and Mr Boo the family ties spill into the ring where, in a world where precision matters, they are often flying by the seat of their pants.

“For the performers every little thing has to be exact,” said Bubu.

“A centimetre can matter for the acrobats.”

“The show is tight,” said Laci Jnr. “We are not. I’d not like to work that way, we can’t.

“I like to think that we are perfectly disorganised.”

“We just go with the flow,” said Bubu.

“Sometimes we just have to run with it.”

The brothers might not be scripted, they always know each other’s next move.

Bubu continued: “We can communicate in the ring without talking – with a look I can know whether something is right or wrong.”

While Blackpool’s clown princes might enjoy a certain amount of chaos, they know that sticking to a basic formula means they can rarely go wrong.

Laci Jnr compared their performances to another top comedy double act.

He said: “I went to see Little Britain live a few years ago.

“With the Lou and Andy characters you know they can say anything, as long as it’s inkeeping with the characters.
“I’m not saying we’re like that.

“But it’s very similar in that people know my character is always going to be nice and sympathetic and a little bit naive and Mr Boo is always going to be the villain and always going to lose.

“That’s a good message to send, that the bully never wins.”

“I’d never switch,” said Bubu – ever the villain of the circus ring.

“What you need is to be funny of to have sweetness.

“I know I can do neither.”

Writing and performing two shows a year for the circus ring - with its almost unique flooding floor - might seem a challenge, but for Bubu and Laci Jnr, it’s a chance to perform magic for an audience aged nine to 90.

“It’s a wonderful space,” said Laci Jnr.

“There are a few other flooding rings in the world.

“But this one fills in 11 seconds.

“I’ve been amazed with it since I was a little kid.

“When we put on a show we always imagine ourselves as members of the audience, thinking how it would work for children, for parents.

“If we forget that the world’s less magical.”

And being live theatre, no two shows are the same.

“I think there’s maybe four in my whole time I’ve been happy with,” said Laci Jnr.

“Every one is different, every audience is different.

“There have been similar shows but none the same.
“That’s the nature of it - you respond to the audience and they respond to you.”

It’s the variety at the Tower circus which drives Laci Jnr and Bubu, their enthusiasm clear and their passion for the venue unwavering after 25 years.

And there’s no sign of the family saying farewell to a Blackpool landmark any time soon.

“Will we stay for 25 more years?” asks Laci Jnr.

“We’ll be here for as long as they want us.”