It doesn’t seem that many years ago when we said goodbye to animals in this circus (well, all right it was a while ago but then when the wind’s in the right direction they’re still there in spirit).
Perhaps in years to come we’ll feel the same about the Tower Circus Orchestra, there in the summer but now slashed back to a drummer (Stuart Reynolds) and replaced by a pre-recorded soundtrack complete with rock concert volume and strangely mid-Atlantic accents (particularly and ironically Adaya Monique Henry’s Cheshire Cat). more at home in a Florida theme park than this unique circus ring
So exit all those rougher but much loved musical edges and enter the Happy Day theme, Memories from Cats, military marches and The Little Mermaid.
This Christmas combination of pantomime and circus has always been an odd fusion – a token nod to whatever this year’s subject matter is (Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland if you hadn’t guessed, liberally adapted by Laci Endresz Jnr) before the proceedings are handed over to a collection of speciality acts directed and produced by Laci Endresz Snr – but this year, with a better sound system and some good original voices.
The loss of live music certainly doesn’t seem to bother the youngsters in the audience anything like as much as it does the circus traditionalists but with star clown Mooky taking more of a back seat (well, less of a permanent centre stage at least) it takes a while for things to really get going, though his eventual arrival in the circus ring in the unlikely and soon abandoned role of Mad Hatter sees him greeted like a hero by his huge fan base.
His reference to the missing musicians clearly flies above their heads, much as Miss Anita’s impressive aerial net act does later on (in a very different way) .
The mix of circus and pantomime mean Alice (Kelly Endresz Banlaki) barely has time to vanish down the rabbit hole before the Queen of Hearts (Shelly Cinaglee) is commanding “let the circus commence” and the performers are showcased tumbling, balancing, spinning, roller skating, big wheeling and hula hooping in a mini Britain’s Got Talent style before the always interesting water finale.
Adding Lady Gaga to Kremina Ditrova’s hand balancing act is a touch of inspiration and Mooky’s plate spinning and juggling combination is always going to get the gasps.
Youngsters from the Langley Dance Centre are as impressive as ever, the costumes are the best in years and the whole thing moves along at a rate of knots.