Once at the centre of family entertainment, the old-fashioned circus with its caged animals seems to have faded from view nowadays; in its place has emerged the contemporary circus, boasting death-defying performers, lashings of colour and a lot of off-kilter comedy. Here are the best examples London has to offer:
(16 January-6 March at Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP)
The latest spectacular show from the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, Amaluna promises a not-to-be-missed experience for enthusiasts of contemporary circus and those curious to check it out; they’re bound to be converted on the spot. Performed by a company almost exclusively made up of women, Amaluna takes its inspiration from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, telling the tale of queen arranging her daughter’s coming-of-age ceremony, onlyfor a storm to bring a group of young men to their island, kicking-off an emotional tumult as the daughter and her suitor seek to find happiness together after they fall in love.
Directed by the Tony award-winning Diane Paulus, the production has been described as‘a tribute to the voice and work of women’ and marks the Cirque du Soleil’s 20th year of performing at the Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s greatest venues. Should your stay in London see you based at the nearby Shaftesbury Hyde Park hotel, this show would surely make for a thoroughly entertaining night out.
(8-24 February at Peacock Theatre, Portugal St, London WC2A 2HT)
Performed by a troupe of more than 30 acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers, jugglers, daredevil stuntmen and an award-winning clown (called Tweedy), Cirque Beserk truly showcases modern circus at its very best. Not least because it boasts possibly the circus world’s most dangerous act – forget the motorcycle ‘wall of death’, instead prepare yourself for the ‘globe of terror’! If you want to check out one of the topLondon circus attractions, you couldn’t go far wrong here.
Nitro Circus Live
(6 February at the O2, Peninsula Square, North Greenwich, London SE10 0DX)
Don’t be fooled, this one isn’t for petrol heads; it’s for all the family. Combining freestyle motocross, BMX and skate tricks and stunts using apparatus including bath tubs, rocking horses, lazy-boy couches andBarbie cars, it’s rollicking good fun.
Roundhouse Circus Fest 2016
(4-24 April at various venues including The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH)
The highlight of this year’s circus calendar? This festivalof all things circus looks set to deliver spectacular and thrilling experiences for children of all ages as it turns the iconic Roundhouse’s interior into a unique big top – as well as blessing other venues across the city. Offering world premieres of daring performances from the biggest circus acts working anywhere in the world today, there’s also an unmissable photographic exhibition by Ben Hopper; entitled ‘Transfiguration’ it showcases the unique physicality and spirit of internationally renowned, modern circus artists and performers.