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Roll up, roll up…..could we have found one of the best value entertaining family trips available, or do you get what you pay for? The Paulos Circus is coming towards the end a 6 week run in York before setting off to its next destination. We went to see for ourselves what was going on inside the big top that had resulted in the Circus performing to a packed out big top for 2 performances a day (Thursday to Sunday).
My recent circus experience includesCirque de Soleil and The Moscow State Circus. Last Autumn we took the children (age 5 and 8) to their first circus experience; Blackpool Tower Circus. As our Mini Traveller review details, we were all blown away; so how would this performance compare to such prestigious competition?
As a guest of Paulos Circus we were given some of the best seats in the big top (blogger perks!), not that there are really bad seats in the big top. It is not an enormous venue, seating around 400. So no-one is too far from the live action. Although we had some friends at the same showing who did have their view slightly impaired by one of the large supporting poles. You are advised to arrive half an hour before the show starts; heed this advice. There is no reserved seating. As a result we saw families, who arrived 20 minutes before the performance start time, unable to all sit together. Popcorn is sold prior to the show (filling the big top with that wonderful smell!), unusually no enormous selection of sweeties and chocolate. I am not sure of prices as I am the mean Mummy who takes her own drinks and snacks! There are also those annoyingly distracting in vogue spinning light up things for sale. There is no interval. So, unusually, limited opportunity for spending a King’s ransom on ‘extras’.
Tickets are sold very differently at Paulos Circus. No online booking, you can attend the box office in person and pay cash (you can ring a mobile number and reserve over the phone). There are no booking fees. The pricing structure is simple; £7 a ticket, any day, any time of show, adult or child. Even better, utilising an offer pasted regularly on their Facebook page, or picked up via a leaflet left in a local shop, tickets are reduced to just £5. So that’s £20 for our family of 4. £20 for 1 hour 10 minutes for a live entertainment show! I’ll be honest though and say that my level of expectation about the quality of the show was affected by these ridiculously reasonable prices. Was I right to set the bar low though?
Simple answer; no!
The show opens with a puppet giving what I assume is a health and safety announcement, although it was completely inaudible (I hope that you were warned about the strobe lighting though?!). The opening act of Los Sanchez Trio’s wheel of death had us all gasping, cheering and clapping. Lots of fast and dangerous spinning, leaping and moving over the enormous contraption, all to high energy music and exciting lighting effects. Awesome (and, we all agreed at the end, our favourite act)!
Duo Vinkali then enters with his James Bond inspired knife throwing act. We enjoyed it, but I fear that we’ve become so used to seeing such extreme acts, that it is now very difficult to convince an audience that assistant is in any danger as the knives hurl towards her. The next act was a ‘live’ first for me. I have seen similar act on Britain’s Got Talent, but in the flesh a live interactive laser show is quite something. Yuri Gottani was throwing, splitting, catching and manipulating a variety of lasers. Colours, size and shape changed along with his beautifully timed choreography, matched to some high energy music. A very modern circus act which we all enjoyed (although some of the younger audience members didn’t appear to enjoy it so much).
Ms Aurelie is next up. Literally. In her aerial hoop act she effortlessly spins, contorts and dangles high above the big top floor. The use of UV lighting and music certainly add to the excitement of the act; however it could not hold the interest of many of the younger members of the audience. Vincent Vinalki, of the knife throwing duo, then returns. (He looks like a lawyer. This is an irrelevant observation I realise, but nonetheless it amused me). Juggling with balls and then clubs, and some very slick tricks with a ball, were all entertaining. Again, I fear that we’ve been spoiled, as the juggling seemed not to be that difficult, when I am quite sure that the apparent simplicity is simply an indication of the skill of the performer. As a finale, 2 members of the Los Sanchez Trio mounted the high wire. With ridiculous ease and boundless energy various tricks and acrobatics enthralled the younger members of the audience.
As is the norm, there is a clown between each act to distract for the work of the stage hands, in this case the comic interludes were provided my Mr N. As with all good clowns, even when the adults did not laugh at the slapstick visual comedy, the children were all in fits of giggles. A musical comedy sketch with the Ring Master, Leigh Darnell, was the main source of laughter given the amusing use of costume, actions and well times music (although the Michael Jackson impersonation and jokes were lost on at least half of the audience!).
Cirque de Soleil it is not. However, for less than the cost of a child’s ticket at Cirque de Soli, our family of 4 had a fantastic time at The Paulos Circus. It is great family entertainment provided by skilled circus performers, with great production standards, at an amazing price. Keep an eye out for the tour dates; you won’t be disappointed.
Kelly and her family were provided with tickets in return for this review, however, the opinions expressed are the writer’s own.