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Circus Maximus at the Southbank Udderbelly

Udderbelly CircusROLL UP, ROLL UP!  With the popularity of X Factor, Dancing on Ice, Strictly, and Britain’s Got Talent, it was only a matter of time before a new contender stepped into the ring. But this act is no stranger to the arena. Ladies and gentlemen, the circus is in town!

Circus Maximus is the UK’s first ever circus competition, bringing with it a wealth of new talent, exciting acts and breathtaking skills from some of the nation’s finest circus performers. Each evening, five artists take the stage, ready to amaze and delight, competing for the chance to win a £5,000 cash prize and opportunity to develop a new show with Udderbelly Productions and Circus Space. But the performers have to be on the top of their game, because it’s you, the audience, that decides their fate.

As with any talent show, the beauty is in the variety: on the evening I attended the show, five very different acts took to the floor. Or, in some cases, to the air!

We had Sam Goodburn, a cheeky chap opening the show with his entertaining juggling and unicycle piece, accompanied by some quite excellent facial expressions. Hot on Sam’s heels was a mesmerising hula-hoop artist: Silvia Pavone, whose fluidity, grace and seductive cool dazzled the audience.

Next came Jonathan Finch, whose dark and brooding handstand act radiated with strength and agility. Fourth was Alcina Mendes, with a comedy trapeze performance to bring the audience back into the light. And finally, we had Gemma Creasy, a very talented aerial hoop artist whose music and lighting complemented her stunning acrobatics perfectly.

Compère Christopher Green, with his witty one-liners and great audience interaction, provided the glue that held the evening together. While some acts were perhaps more polished than others, it was a fabulous show. The most exciting part is that you never know what’s going to come next, and that elusive ‘star-quality’ may be just around the corner. So roll up, roll up, because the circus is in town. And for those of us who dream of running away with the circus, that dream may not be too far away.

Review by Emma Slater

Circus Maximus plays at E4’s Udderbelly at the Southbank Centre on selected dates between 7 May and 1 June 2013.
Heats: 7 – 19th May Finals: 28th May – 1st June 2013

Sunday 12th May 2013


  • Emma Slater

    Emma is an avid theatre-goer and amateur performer who enjoys reviewing productions of all genres. She currently works for ITV and previous positions include journalist for the BBC, and Channel 4. Her favourite musical is probably Beauty and the Beast...perhaps because she's always had a secret hankering to play Belle!

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