Zippo’s Circus invited Entertain the Kids to their Brent Cross performance in October 2016. We sent Ali and her teenage children Sam and Heather for a fun filled day to remember. Ali stresses you have to be there to truly appreciate the atmosphere.Zippos are performing at Hyde Park, London W2 from November 18th through to January 2nd with a Christmas show, a Sooty and Sweep show plus Cirque Berserk on varying different performance times – you can find details at Zippos
Oh My Goodness! It’s hard to know where to start to review the recent performance of Zippos Circus at the Brent Cross location – it was a fabulous trip out from start to finish!
Zippos is a real “traditional” circus, with all performers and front-of-house staff “pitching in” before, throughout and after the full 2-hour performance, from the knife-thrower selling popcorn, to performers helping with the rigging for the different acts etc … makes for a huge “family-atmosphere” before the show even starts.
You are greeted in the foyer of the “Big Top” by staff members, who show you to your seats and were exceedingly polite:– there was a slight mix-up with our tickets, which resulted in one of them literally running at full-pelt back to the booking office to rectify, and it was dealt with in the blink of an eye. (and YES! The Big Top is heated!)
There is a stall selling food and drinks (hot and cold), plus (of course), popcorn, which was all reasonably priced. In the interval, “flashy-gadgets” are on sale for the kids; have to say I can’t comment on pricing there as I was mean and didn’t buy any!
Couldn’t see any mobility issues at all, although as with most circus venues, when we visited at the Brent Cross location, it was sited in a field – but apart from a bit of a bumpy ride in a wheelchair to get to the entrance, once inside there was plenty of room in the ringside areas for a wheelchair.
Once the performance starts – you will be riveted to your seat! There is no let-up between acts, it has all been very smoothly organised so there is “something” going on at all times, even when the rigging is being prepared for the next “full act” – there will be a clown, a juggler, or a quick comedy sketch to keep you entertained. The only break is a very quick 15-minute interval.
The performances themselves are just superb. And what an array we enjoyed:-
Foot juggling started our show, with the performer being hoisted up into the air at one point!
Closely followed by the knife-wielding popcorn seller, who not only threw knives at a poor static assistant, but then proceeded to throw fire at her whilst she was attached to a spinning board!
A comedy trampoline act…
A high-balance act…
The infamous ring-master, Norman Barrett MBE with his budgies…
Close your eyes for this one, with the performer standing on top of the outside of the wheel, jumping at the top and even skipping whilst blindfolded ….
Then came our personal favourite; the comedy fireman on his swinging ladder, who did actually climb it, whilst it was swinging, with a bucket on his head…
We then had a lady who could not only contort her body into all sorts of very uncomfortable looking positions, but put herself into a glass bottle and then proceeded to shoot a bow and arrow with her feet …
Followed by a quick act with the performing Jack Russell…
A high-rise see-saw act …
A quick juggle from the resident clown, Lorenzo…
Next came the high-wire act, with a difference, as he walked upside-down on rungs at the very top of the circus tent…
And then – Oh My Goodness… three motorcycles doing the “Wall of Death” in a very small caged ball and at one point, with the very lovely foot-juggler standing in the middle of it ….
The only downside we found, had absolutely nothing to do with the circus itself: but unfortunately the audience members on the performance we attended, who despite there being numerous litter bins around seemed incapable of using them. We felt disheartened at the amount of rubbish left behind after such an enjoyable performance, knowing full well it would be the circus staff who had to clear that all away before their evening show, which started in only a few hours time. So if you do take a visit to Zippos (and we thoroughly recommend that you do!) – please have the courtesy to find a bin, or take your rubbish with you!
We are aware there has been some amount of controversy over animal performances in circuses, and just before our visit, Zippos had two other “animal acts” which included ponies and cats. As we left the circus area, we did encounter a “lone protester” regarding the animal acts at Zippos, who was literally stood on his own questioning people about the “animal welfare” at Zippos. He received a very negative response from the audience members and from a personal view on the matter: the two animal acts we saw, (Mr Barrett’s famous budgies and the little Jack Russell), seemed more than happy to be in the “spotlight!”
The budgies were “loose” for their entire (short) performance and could have “flown away” at any point if they had felt the need! (and yes, they could fly – as that was part of their performance!) The little Jack Russell was a very “waggy” little individual and being a terrier-owner myself, you could just “see” he was more than happy to do the few tricks required of him, (which were all rewarded each time), and again, he wasn’t on a lead at any point – so if he felt the need, could have easily “ran-away” and chose not to!
If you are concerned, more information regarding the animal welfare at Zippos can be found here Zippos Animal Welfare
All-in-all: we can’t sing Zippos praises highly enough really. It was an absolutely fabulous performance by all concerned and certainly exceedingly good value for money. At the end of the show, all the performers line up as you leave and are more than happy for photos to be taken. Where they get their energy from I would love to know!
Zippos are performing at Hyde Park, London W2 from November 18th through to January 2nd with a Christmas show, a Sooty and Sweep show plus Cirque Berserk on varying different performance times – you can find details at Zippos
Now please excuse me, whilst I make my plans to run away and join the circus ……..
What do Entertain the Kids think?
Thank you to Ali and her teenage children, Sam and Heather, for an informative and funny review and wonderful commentary on the videos haha.
Having visited Zippo’s Circus myself on a couple of occasions, and we were lucky enough to experience Cirque Berserk too, I know that Ali’s article only scratches the surface. The atmosphere is electrifying, the time flies by because there is so much going on, we even had the chance to go back stage and to pet the animals after the show.
Hopefully, we will be invited back to enjoy another Zippo’s performance during 2017.
Don’t just take our word for it… if you’re in London this winter, book your ringside seats : visit Zippo’s Website for more information.