The inter-continental spectacle of Circus 1903 is a nostalgic dream of popular imagination, merging half-remembered histories with modern-day acts more usually seen inside a Big Top or dedicated circus building than in the theatres receiving this tour.
It’s back for Christmas: pure entertainment, faux-decadent but full of heart, skilful and cheerful and elegant and daft. In the great glittering tent by the Thames battering circus music softens us up to be astonished by miracles of grace and balance, to catch our breath at impossibilities and giggle at benign naughtinesses. Over eleven years the “new variety”, boldly burlesque grown-up circus has refined and perfected its formats, and collected artistes from across the world: aerialists and exhibitionists, jugglers and jokers, Weimar wannabes crooning darkly in preposterous feathers, acrobats in bondage gear. On any given night a selection of them hurtle and fly and preen and beguile and clown. I fall for it every time, one of the best , racketiest of nights out with never a minute wasted.