Our amazingly fun first visit to the Zippos Circus

When I was a kid I secretly wanted to join the circus. All kids go through this stage don't they? Alas, it was never meant to be, even if I did learn to juggle at ten. The last time I've been to the circus was when I was a tween. It's been over twenty years... This spring I went back to circus - a new show by Zippos Circus, The Magnificent Top Hat - and my was it exhilarating. It was just like being a kid again. 

We were invited to attend the London press event for this review. We drove to Blackheath and rushed inside just in time to grab pop corn, cotton candy and the programme before the show started...

And what a show it was! Contortionists, aerial artists, foot jugglers, knife throwers, acrobats, and daredevils of all sorts. It was exhilarating and scary and funny, and I sat there mostly with my mouth open or laughing. It really felt like I was a kid again, watching these amazing artists performing mind-boggling tricks and wondering what would come next.

The Magnificent Top Hat tour of 2019 was great fun. There was plenty of humour in the storyline running through the show. Paulo, a showman just 3'6" tall, was trying to steal the top hat and the limelight from Norman Barrett MBE, the indomitable ring master with over twenty years of experience at Zippos Circus...

As for the acts, throughout the show there were so many amazing talents. I particularly enjoyed Ebby, the Mongolian contortionist, who was very flexible shooting her arrows. I also thought The Lucius Team and their "Globe of Terror", with five motorcyclists riding inside one little steel cage was exhilarating.

To be honest, it was all just highlights to me, all the acts were amazing. The Cuban State Circus had amazing rope skipping and springboard acrobatics, and The Timbuktu tumblers from Africa had such fun pyramids and tumbling. And as far as trust in marriage goes, the prize must go to Nikol, hailing from Czech Republic, whose husband Toni threw knifes at her while she was spinned on a wheel of fortune (or perhaps death would be a better term.). Paulo got in on the action with aerial stunts with Laci from Hungary - such incredible skills and strength from both of them.

Aili, my daughter who is five years old said about her favourite acts that "It was so good when they were flying". She was exhilarated by the experience, and my baby girl Aija, was quite mesmerised by all the lights and action too. It wasn't too loud at all, and the light were fun for babies, so feel free to bring little ones.

Our circus babies certainly enjoyed the experience, as did we parents. Like Norman Barrett MBE said, "You are never too old, never too young and never too cool to go to the circus!"

My top tips for enjoying the Zippos Circus show:

  • The seats inside the tent are small and there's not much space. If you can, leave big and bulky items home. 
  • You are not allowed to bring buggies inside the tent, so unless you want to hold your baby bring a baby carrier. 
  • It was fairly pleasant in the tent, even though it was a hot spring day, but worth it to wear light layers that you can easily remove if needed. 
  • You can have your photo taken with some of the artists at the interval, although you might need some change for this. 
  • Plenty of refreshments can be bought before the show and during the interval. There are hot and cold drinks, pop corn and cotton candy (£5 each). You can also get programmes and light sabers for the kids for £6. 
  • You can also pre-buy snacks with your tickets and it will be a bit cheaper. TimeOut has a good deal on for 2 front-view tickets with snacks for £35. 
  • If you're driving come in plenty of time - we found the access to the parking area a bit confusing as there was no signs pointing to entry. 
  • The show lasts two hours, with an interval in between. There are decent bathrooms outside the tent. 
  • We sat at ringside seats and I'd say these are worth the extra expense. It was nice to sit so close to the ring and the view was good even with some people sitting in front of us. That said, the view from the rest of the front-view seats is apparently great as well. 

When was the last time you've been to the circus?

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