Circus Bizarre @ Caos Café
10:00pm, Fri 24 Feb 2006
Circus Bizarre is a good old-fashioned freak- and geek-show – we’re talking old-school freakery here: blockheads, beds of nails, people generally performing stupid acts upon themselves. And it’s pretty entertaining stuff, too.
First act: Cruella (“The Lady of Steel”) MC’s proceedings with a fun, assertive, and generally pleasingly corny style (as well as picking on the typos for “gormet” pizzas in the “Caos” café). She introduces Baby Hanibal, who proceeds to perform the blockhead standard of sticking a nail up his nose. Ho hum, thinks I… but then he removes the nail and uses a power drill instead. OK, that’s got me interested. Cruella lies on a bed of nails, Mr Tetanus (or, as he was constantly referred, “The Super-Masochistic Human Piiiiiiiiincushion Mister Tetanus”) slams his hand in a rabbit trap. From my seat at the back of the Caos Café, I heard the snap of the trap, the front rows of the audience groan, and Cruella croon “oooooh, that’s gotta hurt.” Visually unspectacular… until he proceeds to slam a rabbit trap into his face. Now we’re talking entertainment. Mr Tetanus then pierces his cheeks with a pair of skewers and lifts a six-pack from the makeshift piercings. Ouch.
There’s a short break, then the body abuse really starts. Lifting heavy objects with nipple and scrotal piercings, eating live worms, cockroaches and even a live mouse (apt, given that P&K Pets is sponsoring the show), the appearance of the stunning Matron Lee.
Another short break, then the show is completely stolen by The Amazing Christina, claimed to be the world’s oldest contortionist… surely Cruella didn’t say “sixty-one”? (Website says “yes”). Christina was, quite frankly, incredible. Her act added a wonderful bit of class and finesse to proceedings, and… wow. Just… wow.
And then the run home. Baby Hanibal has 240 volts sent through his nipples whilst holding a chicken fillet on two forks between his hands… was that the smell of cooking chicken or human flesh we smelt? Then a painful scrotal tug-of-war between Mr Tetanus and Baby Hanibal (the former won), and we’re done. Time to catch your breath and assimilate.
Obviously, this production lacks the big-budget polish of something like the Jim Rose Circus – but is every bit as entertaining and, due to the proximity, far more accessible. Recommended.
(Throughout this performance, I sat alone on my barstool at the back of Caos Café, watching the seemingly unhappy man wearing the tell-tale orange lanyard of “the press” (also artists & volunteers, but this guy was furiously scribbling throughout the performance). He really didn’t seem to be enjoying himself much at all. Chin up, fella – there’s only three weeks left.)