Although it’s run by circus blood generations old, Circus Mondao is a relatively new company, just entering its fourth season, and the forward-looking enthusiasm of all concerned is very much in evidence, creating a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.
A smart box office and attractive, light-bedecked big top provides a strong first impression that continues inside the impressively tall but intimately seated tent, where theatrical-looking ring doors provide a glitzy backdrop.
A fast-moving, family-orientated programme provides a rounded mix of human and animal acts.
Graceful high altitude gymnastics are delivered by lissom Hungarian artist Zsuzsi, first on aerial silks and then, with partner Anett, on a double hoop trapeze. More gravity-defying daredevilry comes courtesy of Wheel of Death performers Dani & Attila, including a blindfold walk around the outside of their enormous, revolving apparatus.
Moldovia’s Vitalie presents crowd-stirring break dancing, hand-balancing and aerial straps routines, while well-known British clown Bippo gets particularly big laughs for his ballet parody drag act.
On the animal front, Circus director Carol Macmanus presents a group of beautiful dappled stallions and an ‘exotic group’ that includes camels, llamas and zebras. Gracie Timmis’ charming performing doves draw plenty of “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” from the audience, while her daughters Madalane and Cinzia (12 years old and nine years old) put a troupe of pygmy goats through their well-trained paces.
Ringmistress Petra Jackson oversees proceedings with a warmth that characterises the show as a whole, while a good-sized and appreciative audience suggest Circus Mondao hit the right note for the family market.