FIFTEEN YEARS since it first trampled the bloody boards at Glastonbury and went on to achieve cult status with tours around the world, the fangtastic, rockin’ and shockin’ Circus Of Horrors arrives at the Black Box Theatre on Thursday November 4 at 8pm.
The show contains some of the greatest, most bizarre, and beautiful circus acts on earth. From daredevil flying trapeze to a vampiric crow woman suspended only by her hair, from whirlwind rollerskaters to sword-swallowers.
All this, plus pickled and bendy people, voodoo warriors, knife throwers, and an almighty cast of 28 of the wildest, weirdest performers on earth. And towards the end of an action packed show, this cavalcade of the bizarre explodes into a flaming, pyrotechnic-fuelled finale.
Dragging us through the grim fairytale is the crazed leather-clad Dokter Haze and his well-endowed, vamp goth side-kick, Satanica. There is the comically macabre Vaultini who charges himself with over 300,000 vaults of electricity, and sends lightning bolts shooting out of his fingertips.
Then there is Wasp Boy, aka Sebastian Vittorini, who is reputed to have achieved his 16” waist by cramming his stomach into his chest using tighter and tighter belts. He still manages to swallow five metre-long swords and downing a red fluorescent light bulb leaves him glowing like a Halloween lantern.
“I was born into the circus, both my parents were circus performers,” recounts ringmaster Dokter Haze over an afternoon phonecall. “Then, when I was four my dad basically did a runner and left me and my mum during a tour of Scotland.
“The circus people looked after us; we came back to Preston where I was raised. When I was 11 my mum took my dad to court to get support off him and the courts ordered them to get back together which they did!
“Soon after that my dad got us a job as a fakir act – fire-eating and walking on glass - in an Irish circus so we came over to Ireland. I had never done any circus training up to then but I learned how to do fire-eating in one day and joined the act that night.”
Dokter Haze continued working in the circus for a number of years, but then became disillusioned.
“Circuses were stopping using animals but the problem was they weren’t coming up with any new acts that generated the same kind of excitement you would get from, say, a man going into a cage with live lions,” he says. “So I left the circus and pursued a career in music and was quite successful in that.”
Haze attributes his return to circus and the conception of Circus Of Horrors to the inspiration of Archaos. “Archaos was a big influence on Circus Of Horrors. I loved what they did and after they folded I felt there was a gap in the market for an alternative rock’n’roll type circus so I set about assembling the performers for Circus Of Horrors. At the time most people thought we would only last a few weeks but here we are still going after 15 years.”
Dokter Haze goes on to describe some of the acts featured in the show.
“For this tour we’ve brought back some of the favourite routines we’ve had in the past,” he says. “There’s Wasp Boy our sword-swallower for instance. There are only about a hundred sword swallowers in the world and I think he is the best. He had to have two of his ribs broken to enable him to swallow the swords he does.
“He swallows an electric drill and he also swallows a serpent sword and we invite people to touch his ribs and feel them move so they know the sword swallowing is not an illusion of any kind. Then we have a contortionist who can place an arrow in one of her feet and a bow in the other and shoot it at a target.
“There’s a lot of amazing stuff in the show that hasn’t been seen before. I think this is our greatest show ever. It’s gory, scary but also very funny. It has a forked tongue in each cheek!”
So, roll up! Roll up to the Black Box on November 4 and savour the hair-raising thrills and spills of Circus Of Horrors.
Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777.