LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cirque du Hilarious review - The Funniest Show on Earth!

Clive Webb
Ringmaster of mirth
in the funniest show on Earth!

It must be the Law of Attraction - you get more of what you focus on. For the past week, I’ve been posting pictures and old show flyers of Clive Webb and Danny Adams to celebrate International Clown Week. Then today I was driving into Southwold for an afternoon at the sea when what should I see but a poster for Cirque du Hilarious, the all clown vehicle (or should that be clown car?) of Clive and Danny!

The Laughter Dome
being built up on
Southwold Common
Naturally I headed for the Common where the slapstick duo’s red and yellow big top - the Mighty Laughter Dome - was set up against the clear blue evening sky - and I’m mighty glad I did, because I haven’t laughed and grinned so much in years.

The comic twosome usually work in theatres, with extensive engagements in the Butlins resorts of Minehead, Bognor and Skegness this year (see dates below). So it was great to see the former Circus Hilarious, now rebranded Cirque du Hilarious, in a proper circus tent where they were appearing, in Southwold, for one month only, throughout August.

Setting the stage
as tweeted by Danny Adams
- follow him
With 1950s rock’n’roll playing and creating a fairground atmosphere as we took our seats, the big top has been divided internally with a proscenium arch to create an intimate cabaret-style space. The semi-circle of tiered bench seats brings the audience much closer to the half-circle stage than you’d normally find either around a normal-sized in-the-round circus ring or in an ordinary theatre - and the intimacy of the set-up made every aspect of the show even better.

The show is called Daredevils and Clowns and some genuine daredevilry was provided in the first half by Sascha Williams who built a high-altitude rola-rola tower on an already tall platform... then proceeded to play a Led Zepplin electric guitar solo while balancing precariously on the summit! A slick juggler added more circus in the second half, while the Cirque du Hilarious Dancers performed in a number of classy costumes to give the show a fast-moving variety show feel.
As always, though, it was ringmaster Clive Webb and clown Danny Adams who dominated, with a non-stop barrage of genuine belly laughs. The thing with both performers is that their anarchic delight
in everything they do is both palpable and infectious. Never just going through the motions, you can feel them pushing and pushing themselves and each other to new heights of cheekiness.

Anarchy in the UK
Danny Adams - Britain's funniest clown.
Read his story in Circus Mania
The Ultimate Book for Anyone who Dreamed of
Running Away with the Circus
The bit where Danny torments a singer by squirting her with a water pistol, covering her in toilet paper and spraying her with foam? Of course it’s scripted, but Danny plays the part with such a mad gleam in his eye you’d really think he was making it up as he went along. Surely he won’t really squirt it up her skirt, you think. And the moment when you can almost see him thinking about it, like a naughty kid wondering if he’ll get away with it, makes it all the funnier when he does.

“How do you get a fat girl into bed? Piece of cake!” quipped Danny in an opening minutes gag that set the tone for his endless stream of one-liners.

The humour was cartoonishly visual, too. A piano and a Punch and Judy tent are blown up in gleefully noisy explosions. Two of the funniest moments come when Danny, dressed as Elvis, is first shrunk to a couple of feet tall then blown up to sumo wrestler size.

Then again, some of the biggest laughter comes from embarrassment and tension, and Danny milks every drop of Mickey-taking from an eye-wateringly funny skit involving four audience members and a unicycle.

Add a custard pie fight, a royal baby fart gag that’s a literal blast, and a musical climax by clown rock band Clown Force, and you have the funniest afternoon or evening you could ever enjoy in a circus tent.


To see Clive and Danny on tour,
 Click here for tour dates.

And don’t forget, you can read a full chapter on Clive and Danny, plus behind-the-scenes visits to all Britain's top circuses in Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book For Anyone Who Dreamed of Running Away with the Circus.

Click here to buy Circus Mania from Amazon.

Do you find clowns SCARY? Don't click this link to a report on the Northampton Clown and Britain's clown crime-wave!
The Northampton Clown

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