Growing up, I was a bookworm. The sort of child who took a book down to the dinner table and who lay on the floor in the supermarket reading all the magazines while my mum did the food shopping each week.
This love of books stemmed particularly from my mother introducing me to the imaginative children’s stories by Enid Blyton, which were packed full of pixies and adventures. I used to save up my pocket money and go to a book stall on the local market to buy second hand books – usually Famous Fives, Secret Sevens, The Adventures of…, The Magic Faraway Tree collection, Mrs Pepperpot, Malory Towers etc – all the classics.
I would then plough through the books at lightning speed and be forced to read them over and over again until I could save enough for some more!
So imagine my delight when, after writing a story about a circus coming to King’s Lynn, I was offered free tickets to go along. I went along on Friday night, and despite my previous unease around clowns and the like, I was very excited to watch what I had been told was a “traditional circus designed to reignite childhood memories”.
Mr Fip’s Wonder Circus certainly delivered – from the moment I entered the big top, I was transported back into the pages of my Famous Five and The Adventures of… books where circuses were packed with magic, amazing acrobats and feats of contortion – of freak shows and hypnotising dancing girls. It was a fantastic night out and, for the official price of the tickets, very good value for money.
Despite the tent being packed out with families with young children, I think myself, my boyfriend and our two friends we took along, were having even more fun watching the acts. I can honestly say I didn’t stop laughing from the moment I entered the big top to the moment I left – it was hilarious and awe-inspiring throughout.
My favourite acts were the chap on the unicycle who impressed with his superb cycling skills as he bounced the contraption up and down flights of stairs and dribbled inbetween cones. He then switched to a smaller version of his cycle which was just a wheel with pedals, before challenging himself with a unicycle that was double the height. Amazing talents.
My second favourite act was the beautiful Arabian Nights performance by a young woman dressed in her stunning costume (similar to Jasmine’s in the Disney film, Aladdin). She was a hula-hooping extraordinaire who showed the audience all kinds of tricks which saw her hooping with around 30 huge hoops at the same time and then upping her game by setting them on fire. Her movements were hypnotic and I couldn’t tear my eyes away – especially later when she returned to the ring for her other act, which saw her dangling from a ball that was hung from the ceiling and performing acrobatic moves.
Finally, an act which deserves a fantastic mention for leaving me in pain for laughing so hard – my ribs still ached the next day from such hysterics! Mr Fips and his father performed their double act, The Brenner Clowns, which saw the comedic duo throwing water, soap and other messy liquids all over each other – and the audience! It was hilarious and through the art of mime they managed to tell a story while doing it. The piece was incredibly well scripted and practised until perfected – yet still retained the feeling of complete spontaneity. It was a wonderful break from the main show and the pair should be applauded (as they were, and very heartily from the audience) for their amazing chemistry in the ring.
A fantastic night out and totally changed my opinion of both clowns and circuses. Before now I had not been to the circus for several years and had based my opinion of them on what I saw in the news and heard from others – mainly relating to animal cruelty and creepy clowns. I am happy to admit that all of those beliefs were wrong and instead I found an amazing show that brings some incredible talents together. These dedicated individuals put their all into performing the very best possible show for you and they have an amazing time doing it. I would heartily recommend visiting this circus as it makes it’s way to Downham Market and beyond.