The Circus of Horrors

The Circus of Horrors

Saturday 29th November 2014

Venue Cymru, Llandudno

Are you prepared for a spectacle unlike any other?  For a night of the bizarre, the strange and the wickedly beautiful?  Are you ready for the Night of the Zombie?

That’s exactly what we got when the Circus of Horrors visited Llandudno recently.

Mrs Platinum Al and I had witnessed this macabre event a couple of years previously.  This would be our second show, and at the same venue – as part of an early Christmas present for Mrs PA. 10428001_852015048175960_3585830705782720595_n

The Circus of Horrors is a mutation of live music, daredevil performers, freak show and burlesque.  This touring Frankenstein regularly travels across the UK bringing a touch of good old fashioned weirdness to many an unsuspecting, sedate town.

Dr Haze is the ring master, and his duties as compere are augmented by leading the live rock band through their pretty much non stop attack.  It’s a full on, guitar driven heavy rock attack that features both original numbers and some covers.  All delivered by a well honed band  who constantly deliver an energetic set.

The acts themselves are varied, including awe inspiring trapeze work and gravity defying gymnastics.  The Kenyan Warriors leap about, creating shapes with a precision that seems unbelievable.  There’s a girl in a bottle (who reveals herself as a saucy nun on this occasion); performers hanging and twisting from ropes without any net what so ever; fire eating and (my personal favourite) knife throwing.

Hannibal Helmurto is a mohawked sword swallower, amazing the audience with his skills.  Of course, the good Doktor Haze barks out his commentary, explaining how Hannibal will attempt the impossible.  I found myself not believing that Helmurto would be able to accomplish what he did; and I was relieved when he succeeded without slicing himself open.  There are some moments when the audience really doubt that the acts will be able to accomplish their feats – making the whole experience more vivid.

There are beautiful women on stage, not just as set dressing but belting out lead vocals or performing incredibly nimble contortions.  Then of course there’s the Mongolian Laughing Boy, occupying the opposite end of the eye candy spectrum, bringing gross out humour to the proceedings.

There are many acts, far too many to list here.  Suffice to say that though this is the second time I’ve seen the Circus of Horrors, there has been more than enough variety (and different acts) to keep the viewer intrigued (or shocked!).

My only criticism this time would be that the Night of the Zombie theme could’ve been fleshed out (!) a little more, but this didn’t distract from the show.

A fantastic evening – full of amazement, laughs and chills.  You literally won’t believe your eyes.  Keep those peepers peeled though, the Circus of Horrors picks up the tour again in the New Year – and you really don’t want to miss it!

Now I’m off to practice my knife throwing skills…

Captain Blood (1935)

After a long while, I finally added this film to my DVD collection.  Originally released in 1935, Captain Blood is black and white, no CGI – switch off now if this isn’t your thing.  But you’ll be missing something special if you do.

This is the story of a doctor, Peter Blood, who through misfortune and circumstance finds himself a slave in the West Indies.  From here he escapes with his trusty comrades and commandeers a Spanish ship, his only option now a life of piracy.  We follow Captain Blood and his crew’s adventures on the seas. captainblood1

Warner Brothers took a gamble in casting the unknown Errol Flynn in the lead role.  The risk paid off – Flynn lights up the screen from the start.  A star is not so much born as presented fully formed for the audience to adore.  Olivia de Havilland, as Arabella Bishop, also found herself become an established name.  There is real on screen chemistry between the two (they’d go on to star in many other films together); both Flynn and de Havilland captivating throughout.

Director Michael Curtiz employs everything he has to create a spectacle on screen, though surprisingly most of the scenes were shot on sound stages.  Flynn’s sword fight with Basil Rathbone is energetic and deadly.  The final swing-across-the-cavern ship to ship battle is still exciting even now.

Curtiz takes his time telling the back story before we get to the piracy on the high seas.  On first viewing you may wonder when the film will actually get to the pirate part, yet the tale is told well with engaging characters and action.

Captain Blood is golden era Hollywood.  It has escapism, adventure and above all, fun.  Even without a single “Garrrrgh!”, it’s still full of pirate-y goodness.

8/10