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Review: Circus Maximus - Udderbelly Festival, London ✭✭✭

Circus Maximus
Udderbelly Festival, London

Review by Christina Benneworth


Wednesday 9th May – The UK’s first circus competition is live from the Udderbelly and the competition is well under way. Twenty of the UK’s hottest circus acts will dazzle and delight you with remarkable feats of bamboozling skill, physical prowess and unexpected hilarity. The country’s finest circus talents compete in the iconic Udderbelly for the votes of the audience and judges. The prize? £5,000 and the opportunity to develop a new show with Underbelly Productions and Circus Space – the UK’s foremost centre for circus arts.

Across four rounds, the acts will perform live to win your vote. Only one act from each heat will qualify for the finals, which is where a panel of expert judges will choose the ultimate competition winner.

With one more show of the first heat (10th May), the first winner will then be announced to go through to the finals. This show and the first heat contestants were – Sam Goodburn, Sylvia Pavone, Jonathan Finch, Alcicna Mendes and Gemma Creasey.

Introducing the acts and keeping the audience entertained was Christopher Green, a great presenter for this show, with a great sense of humour and a knack for getting the audience involved.

First on to the stage was Sam Goodburn whose act was juggling and also unicycling. Goodburn is the only person ever to become both British Freestyle Unicycle and British Young Juggler of the Year. With some great juggling tricks and some nifty tricks on the unicycle Goodburn was entertaining, but nothing too exciting.

The 2nd act of the night was Sylvia Pavone whose act was with hula hoops. It might seem a bit simple, however this act was amazing. Mixing the movements with the hoops and movements from the body, the act was beautiful. Pavone has a beautiful talent and with the hula hoops lighting up it is also a very pretty display.

Jonathan Finch was up next with his act of handstands. Using blocks on sticks, he expertly manoeuvred himself above and between them with incredible strength and flexibility. It was a very poetic performance, like an acrobatic ballet.

The 4th act was Alcina Mendes or Maria the Cleaner, whose act was on the Trapeze. It was an infusion between comedy and trapeze, if you take a look at the skill on the trapeze it is very impressive, but the comedy made you lose sight of the actual skill, which in all fairness was a shame. Too much comedy that in the end wasn’t really that funny.

The final act of the night was Gemma Creasey on the aerial hoop. Creasey is very talented, flying effortlessly through the air above the audience. A great performance, showcasing some stunning aerial acrobatics, Creasey made it look very easy, but the act is very difficult, especially when relying on another person’s body weight to pick you off the ground and making sure they don’t hit the floor, I personally couldn’t do it.

The winner was announced over a megaphone outside the purple cow. The winner of this round was Sylvia Pavone and very well deserved.

It would be interesting to see what happens in the finals. If you like new circus acts and seeing some young talented individuals, then get yourself down to the Udderbelly to watch Circus Maximus and the first ever UK circus competition.

Three stars ✭✭✭

Listings Information 

HEAT 1: 7 – 10 May

HEAT 2: 11 & 12 May; matinee and evening both days

HEAT 3: 14 – 17 May

HEAT 4: 18 & 19 May matinee and evening both days

FINALS: 28 May – 1 June

Tickets available at - www.underbelly.co.uk/circusmaximus


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