Review: Circus of Horrors | Buxton Opera House 22nd February

The Circus came to town on Monday night, a Circus of Horrors no less. Buxton Opera House offers a varied programme all year round but it became immediately clear that this show was definitely not for children nor the squeamish. As you would expect, the Circus of Horrors is essentially a manic sequence of death-defying acts; acrobatics, contortion, fire-breathing, sword- swallowing, creepy clowns and …erm … midget torture are all on the bill. The exploits are performed with the accompaniment of a live heavy-metal band and fronted by the sinister Doctor Haze.

The Circus of Horrors prides itself on being as unpleasant as possible so it is not for those who are easily offended. Personally, this is the fourth time I’ve seenone of their shows and my enjoyment has yet to diminish. Despite the familiar format, I’m still excited by their loud music, daft costumes and boisterous escapades. The lump in my throat returns as I watch the performers demonstrate feats of sub-human endurance and agility. Infact, this latest show seems more polished and well-paced than before.

Regardless of their freakish talents, the performers mingle with the audience before, after and during the show. Despite the bloodthirsty theme, this makes the whole event feel friendly and welcoming, especially when shared with the genial Buxton Opera House staff. Although the Circus of Horrors is a fairly recent phenomenon, it harks back to Victorian times when carnivals and freak shows where all the rage and, of course, when Buxton Opera House was built. I recommend the show and the venue as a combination.

Darcus Wolfson

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