Odka the Mermaid contortionist

Thirty years young, Zippos Circus is something of an institution…and with good reason. With its end-of-the-pier humour and spectacular stunts, the old cliche of ‘something for everyone’ applies here. Whether it’s Odka, the Mongolian contortionist, who can not only fit into a bottle, but also shoot an arrow from her toes, or new act Roseline and Nora’s Juggling Pussycats, who are as cute as they are smart, the slick stagecraft leaves other shows wanting .Romy Michael’s foot juggling is both glam and jaw-dropping, and Alex Michael’s aerial daredevil stunts have many a member of the audience covering their eyes, as he hangs upside down with no safety net.

Nora Borissov with Feux

Nora Borissov with Feux

Zippos is one of the most traditional circus shows around, and so the vaudeville antics of ‘ladies’ man’  Mr Lorenz, a spiv with a sense of mischief, are to the fore:it’s all very un-PC, and a little cringeworthy, as he selects a none-too-delighted lady from the audience to flirt with. But he wins her over, with sheer chutzpah. Alex The Fireman walks a (literal at times) tightrope between slapstick and death-defying stunts. But it’s the Timbuktu  Tumblers and then the Duo Galaxy in the spinning Wheel Of Death who elicit the most gasps, as they defy gravity with wit and panache.Leave your irony and cool outside, Zippos is dazzling family entertainment. And I didn’t even get to ringmaster Norman Barrett MBE, and his fabulous Budgie act…


(Lorna Irvine)

Photos by Piet-Hein Out

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