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Not so much knowledge about English circuses made me very exited before my second visit ever in an English circus. Of cause I have seen some of those glamorous shows from England in the television but not live. My first visit in an English tent was in 2004 where I visited Circus Billy Smarts in London and now it was the time for Zippos also placed in London (Blackheath). I knew there was a guy called Norman Barret working in Zippos and I have always seen him as the ringmaster over the ringmasters and could clearly remember him from many of those shows I have seen in the television. I was absolutely not disappointed because Norman Barret was the ring master in Zippos and he performed his legendary budgerigar birds as well. When I visit circus here in Scandinavia I often meet artists been in other circus in previous yeas and here in England it is the same problem (if it is a problem?), from my first visit in 2004, there were two acts included here in Zippos circus, which I saw in Billy Smarts a few years earlier.
Very nice people in Zippos and I was given ringside tickets witch gave me the best opportunity to see the show from a very close range. Zippos is a nice and clean circus and seems very well looked after. The tent is a 40 meter (red and white) and lots of space inside. The trucks, cars and everything is very nice and so are the stables for the horses. It is not political correct to perform animals in England – it is not against the law but it seems to give circus here a lot of problems with people misunderstanding how circus treats animals. That is one of the reasons for Zippos has chosen to put the stables in front of the circus witch gives all people the opportunity to see that nothing wrong happens behind the velvet curtain
First in the ring was the clown Henri – Henri was one of two acts as I saw in Circus Billy Smarts a few years earlier. Henri is a typical reprise clown but he performs an entrée as well. Here in the opening there was a little discussion with the Ring master Norman Barret about Henri was good enough for his job. Of cause the audience was on Henris side against the “evil” ring master and the performance could start.
After the warm up from Henri the clown, is was time for the traditional circus parade. Here we were presented for a very nice circus Ballet with a lot of nice and good looking girls. Unfortunately there wasn’t any circus band placed over the entrance. Last year Zippos circus band was awarded as the best band in England but of some unknown reasons, there was no live music here in 2007. Anyway the sound was very nice, as it must be when you choose not to have musicians in circus. The sound went out loud and clear and there was no difference in the sound from act to act.
First in the ring was Kristina Roberts – daughter of the well known horse trainer Tom Roberts. Kristina presented a very nice miniature horse act. Very nice and well treated horses with wonderful palomino colours.
Zaya from the Mongolian state circus was the first this afternoon presenting a nice thrilling act. High up under the big top she made a very nice swinging trapeze. Everything you need in this entrée – a nice looking girl, smiling and a little thrilling as well.
Then it was Henri again. He was here, there and everywhere. Almost in the ring in every break but he was never too much. Henri goes far in his reprises also longer than we would have expected here in Scandinavia. He uses a lot of water and most of it ends among the audience. In Henri´s entree act he performs the traditional waiter entree, where his becomes more and more drunk when he serves a beautiful lady. Here is an example in how far Henri goes because all the spaghetti ends in pieces outside the ring and most of it on or among the audience. Henri is extremely funny, he is fast and he has a fantastic nose for details. Much of the reprises was not original and there was borrowed here and then but there is no doubt – Henri is just fun.
Helene Faltyny was dressed as a soccer player and made a very nice juggling act. Of cause with soccer balls and other sports items as rackets. She has a nice tempo and a nice attitude. The best part was a detail I haven’t seen before where Helene juggles burning rackets.
No circus without a tissue act. A few years ago it was rare to see tissue acts in circus but in these days it would be a surprise if it was missing. The quality in those tissue acts are very different from act to act but Ina here in Zippos did a very fair job.
Tom Roberts is a great horse trainer. He is well respected and his horses are just wonderful. Palominos horses is just one of my favourite horses because of their beautiful palomino colour. Tom Roberts did an original act and the horses were working very tight.
The second thrilling act here in Zippos was the high wire artists Los Ayala´s. Ayalas was the second act here, as I saw a few years earlier in Billy Smarts. With no safety devices those dare devils do the most on the wire. High wire artists live a very dangerous life and with the thoughts on the deadly accident in circus Flic Flac a few days ago, I strongly recommend some kind of safety. I just love to hate those kinds of acts and I really don’t want to look but still I couldn’t imagine circus without them. Ayalas are great artists and the level is fairly high. They are doing most of the stunts as jumping over each other, taken the tour on the bike and of cause work over blind folded. Ayala´s are doing the job very well because they succeeded with scarring me when they more than one time were close to a fall.
Last year the performance in Zippos was build over a Beatles theme and this year a cowboy theme. After the brake the audience was welcomed in Zippos saloon. First in the ring was the Faltyny family with a nice cowboy act. Here we saw lasso skills but the best part was the knife throwing also against moving targets. Nice costumes and a high level form this trio.
Tom Roberts was back with his clever horse act. One of the palomino horses was in the ring alone with Robert and was ready to answer almost any question. He could shake the head and a lot of other routines. A nice positive act.
For me was the high light in the performance Mr. Norman Barret and his budgerigar birds. The act was very very funny and very charming and the small birds very funny. How you train those small birds to be naughty is a question I can’t answer but they were. Pushing Norman´s hat on the floor and a lot of other funny situations – very very good.
Last act in the performance was Pucahontas and the Mohican warriors with a very good acrobat acts. Dressed in Mohican clothes did this Mongolian troupe lots of nice stuff. Lots of throws and catches with each other. – Nice.
Parade with all the artists and the circus Ballet.
A very nice performance but it would have been mutch better if there had been a circus band. The sound was nice anyway but in my opinion you can’t replace a circus band with recorded music – there will always be a difference. In the program is stated that the Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger visit circus almost every year – Maybe Zippos should have made a Rolling Stones theme instead of the Beatles theme last season – personally I would prefer the Stones theme. This year it was the Cowboy theme and it maybe it fits better in a circus?
Outside Zippos it was possible to buy the usual stuff as popcorn, soft drinks but not a beer. In England circus is for children and that must be the reason for that it wasn’t possible for a thirsty Dane to have a beer.
On the internet it is possible to buy a lot of circus souvenirs from Zippos but it in circus it was only possible to buy a program from 2006 with a printed list inside with program 2007 information. I know there will be printed a new souvenir program covering the new show later on the season.
Zippos circus is great fun and I was very much amused with a lot of nice high lights. If you are going to visit London and like circus – please buy a ticket for Zippos. Zippos are mostly travelling around in the London area (There are exceptions) so it should be possible to combine a nice trip to London and a visit in circus – I would certainly recommend show.