REVIEW: The Circus of Horrors: Never-Ending Nightmare @ Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Posted on February 15th 2017 by Whats on Northeast

Words: Barry Quinn for Cuckoo Review

This evening of nightmares was an undoubtedly twisted, yet delightfully fun affair. There is a certain level of voyeurism required; some of the acts are hard to stomach, let alone understand, and yet when these grotesque tricks are being performed you’ll find yourself utterly captivated and unable to look away.

Led by Ringmaster Doktor Haze, who introduces the various acts as well as singing most of the songs, the Circus of Horrors consists of a band of unnerving personalities. These included new member Relik, a psychotic clown that interrupts the show midway through with manic laughter. In a genuinely terrifying break between acts on the stage, clowns descended on the audience of the Tyne Theatre and Opera house and promptly began clambering through the stalls. If you’re scared of clowns, well, I have bad news for you: you have nowhere to hide.

The audience gasped in all the right places – including when the strongman dwarf did some weightlifting…with his crown jewels…and also when he ate glass. A troupe of gymnasts gave a particularly stunning performance as they clambered atop of each other, and partook in a game of limbo – their bodies mere inches from the ground. Then there was the female contortionist who managed to bend over backwards for her audience, and Hannibal Hellmurto, a sword-swallower who had two ribs permanently broken to aid his act. Unfortunately for the audience Hannibal demonstrated this by moving the broken bones, eliciting further groans from the terrified spectators. Doktor Haze and Hannibal were quite keen on emphasising the authenticity of Hannibal’s act, resulting in the sword-swallower swallowing a jagged blade, a curved sword, and a mercury and electricity laden glow-stick. As may be apparent, this certainly isn’t a show for the faint-hearted.

But then the audience was forewarned. Pre-recorded messages told us that this show wasn’t for the meek.

Aside from a few minor technical issues – sometimes it was hard to hear what Doktor Haze was saying, owing to the (very) impressive backing band – everything was executed with otherworldly professionalism. From the first body-bending performer, to the fiery finale, The Circus of Horrors lived up to its 21st anniversary tagline. It was utterly nightmarish, but a nightmare I’d happily return to again.

This is an article originally published by Cuckoo Review, a platform designed to help young people develop their writing skills. Click here to see more Cuckoo Reviews.

For more listings from the Tyne Theatre & Opera House, click here.

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