REVIEW: Two great action-packed hours at the Circus!

Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus is gearing up for its Christmas show

Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus is gearing up for its Christmas show - Credit: Archant

Christmas Spectacular

Hippodrome Circus

Roll back the clock a few years and the only family entertainment you could expect in Yarmouth at Christmas was a blockbuster movie at the Regent if you were lucky. No live show.

Now there’s the choice of two pantomimes plus the amazing Hippodrome Circus which is a bang up to date 21st century take on tradition; two action-packed hours which couldn’t be more spectacular if it tried.

All of this in the 111-year old auditorium which has had something of a facelift in recent months adding magic and atmosphere with an opera house feel combined with three video screens being used to full effect for the first time.

Then on with the show and an opening act, Hungarian juggler Zolt a master of the diablo (which are internally lit) performing to a background of the Sherlock signature tune. What a starter!

Peter Jay has run the circus for 35 years and now his youngest son, Jack (who is 26) has taken over the reins as director as well as being the show’s host.

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He brings touches of freshness to a well established team which includes older brother Ben’s lighting design and sister in law Estelle Clifton’s choreography and use of youngsters from her dance school and Circus Chermond. It is all very modern though I did enjoy the brief Tiller girl kicks!

Jack combines with Pip Randelle, a very likeable clown whose secret is his inventive simplicity. The routine with plastic carrier bags and familiar lively classical music is a great example.

This show features two of the most exciting acts you are likely to see. The Brazilian Thunderdrome Riders spinning around on their motorbikes inside a giant metal hamster wheel are breath-taking – so too is the dramatic way the equipment is set up in a ring filled with constant eye-catching activity.

That’s followed after the interval with one of the best wheel of death acts to be seen, the fearless Ermia Brothers whose feats rightly bring gasps from the audience.

There’s the sheer balletic strength and agility of the Duo Creative whose balancing has to be seen to be believed while Canadian trapeze artist Eric McGill brings real style.

If all this were not enough the Hippodrome building has its own star attraction with the water-filled ring – an original feature which is both a wonder and a fine aquatic space for the show swimmers.

With a firework finale this is once again something for which Great Yarmouth, if not East Anglia, should be justly proud.

And with Jack Jay at the helm – and his Dad still there supporting - it is clearly in good hands for the future.

There’s still time to catch the Hippodrome Spectacular which continues until January 11. Check for times of performances 01493 844172 or www.hippodromecircus.co.uk

TONY MALLION