Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tots 100 Summer Party At Zippos Circus

Heading down to Brighton with Ian, Ella, Kizzy and Freddy for the Tots 100 Summer Party, we were all intrigued at the prospect of spending the day at Zippos Circus.  After our horrendous experience with the French circus in Nacre, we were all hoping that this would be a very different experience.

The sun was shining as we arrived at the coast.  Brighton is a place very close to my heart.  I spent lots of time there when I was younger as my big sister lived there.  I was keen for my own children to see the place where their auntie, who they sadly never got to meet, used to live.

We had a couple of hours before we were due to meet up at the Big Top on Hove Lawns.  It was a lovely sunny day, perfect for strolling down the promenade to our destination.  Freddy loved stopping every so often to head down onto the beach and throw stones into the sea.

Brighton Beach

We found the Zippos Circus big top and waited until we saw other bloggers and their families go in (I never like being first, in case I go in to the wrong place!)

Zippos Circus

We were signed in and each given a sticker to wear.  These stickers were the most wonderful stickers ever as they entitled us to order whatever we wanted from the food stands for free.  The kids were giddy with the power of being able to get popcorn, Slushies and candyfloss without having to ask me for cash!  We had a lunch of cheese paninis and chips and caught up with Sally and Flea for a chat which was lovely!

Enjoying A Circus Lunch

After eating we headed off to the ring where we were introduced to the Ringmaster Norman Barrett MBE and his performing budgies.  Ian got very excited as he recognised him, remembering him from his childhood.  He was a little starstruck, bless him!  We were also given a demonstration on how the horses were trained by the lovely Yasmine Smart, granddaughter of the legendary Billy Smart, accompanied by a beautiful horse called Diamond.  The kids then got to have a go at some circus skills.  Freddy loved juggling with scarves although he seemed to be doing the Dance of the Seven Veils rather than juggling!  Kizzy had a go on the low trapeze.

Learning To Juggle

We then took our seats for the show to begin.  The kids were intrigued that the performers were also the ones who were selling programs, showing people to their seats and serving candyfloss and popcorn.  They liked the idea of the pitch-in culture of the circus where everybody has their roles to play to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Zippos, circus
Ready For The Show

Now, I must admit that I'm not a big one for clowns.  I just do not get their style of comedy and they are a bit creepy.  So I was quite impressed that Zippos French Delbosq Clowns consisted of a young, funky, attractive and  funny couple who would have been equally suited to a career as CBeebies presenters.  They have made the artform of clowning much more current, relevant and modern for a new generation.  Their slapstick act was actually really entertaining, unique and made us chuckle.

Photo Credit: Gary Samuels

One of our favourite acts was the Kenyan Boys who were an acrobatic troop who did some amazing and impressive tricks!  From acrobatics, skipping, fire-eating, Hip-Hop and limbo dancing, they were incredibly talented and great fun to watch.

Zippos, circus
Kenyan Boys Acrobatics

I loved how contemporary most of the acts were.  There was a woman who juggled with her feet whilst lying on a motorbike who was incredible.  The Argentinian Gauchos with their flaming balls (!!) were thrilling.  The aerial acts were breathtaking and all done without a net!!  Anya the juggler brought her act bang up to date by juggling within a steel and perspex triangle.  The horse act was fantastic as the majestic creatures performed to pulsating dreambeats alongside dancers.

Zippos, circus
Argentinian Gauchos

There was a real sense of nostalgia when Norman Barrett performed with his budgies.  The gentle and traditional animal act was really lovely.  He obviously loves his birds and their ability to perform tricks was so cute.  The budgie that pulled a little carriage using a tiny harness was my favourite!

For amazing circus acts, nothing could compare to the show's finale....the incredible Motorcycle Globe of Death.  Three motorbikes going at breakneck speed in a metal cage no bigger than my kitchen, whizzing around a dancing girl was jaw droppingly, death defyingly nerve wrackingly amazing!  It was really high octane stuff!  My action shot below does it no justice whatsoever!  I've never seen anything like it and it really had the wow factor to end the show on.

Zippos, circus
Brazilian Lucius Team Motorcycle Globe of Death

We had a great day!  Afterwards we went on down to Brighton beach and the kids had a paddle in the sea.  It was a perfect end to a lovely Summer Party...even though the motorbike shaped Helium balloon that we bought for Freddy after the circus was unable to withstand the rigours of the Brighton sea breeze and removed itself from the string and was last seen heading skyward across the Channel!  

Zippos, circus
Freddy's Balloon Before It Escaped!

Huge thanks goes to Sally Whittle who yet again has pulled out all the stops so us bloggers can have a good time!   We had a great day at the circus and loved being in Brighton in the sunshine.

You can find out if Zippos Circus is coming to a town near you by checking out their website, where you can also book discount online tickets. 


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