You won’t find lions jumping through hoops of fire at John Lawson’s circus. Nor would a school of dancing elephants fit in its cozy ring.
The only animals around are in the audience, roaring with laughter at the Popolino musical clowns and shrieking with delight at acrobatic feats of strength and skill.
John Lawson claims to have the funniest clowns in Britain, and that may be true. Rather than relying on old stock jokes and cheap shots, Kakehole and Popol are masters of comedic timing, storytelling, and involving the audience in the situation.
The only downside of the circus is that it’s so small.
If you’re looking for men running on broken glass or other deadly freak shows, look elsewhere.
Apart from a short knife-throwing skit, there’s no danger for danger’s sake. Instead, the acrobats rely on their strength, skill, and tightly scripted acts to entertain.
The average audience member is probably not as strong as Angelo, a 20-year-old, sixth-generation circus performer who can do all kinds of tricks on the ropes that would make the average Olympian blush.
They probably can’t do all the flips on the trampoline that they see Gabriella or her Deltai troupe perform.
Yet one never gets the feeling that anyone in John Lawson’s circus is showing off. The cast are there to entertain, and they do it well. Whether in character or when being themselves, each performer plays to the delight of the audience. (And they seem to enjoy it as much as we do.)
Standard snacks like cotton candy are for sale alongside circus equipment, and you can even get your face painted by Kakehole the clown.
One word of warning, don’t go dressed in your Sunday Best. The clowns get messy in the ring, and seats in a small circus tent are always close to the action.
Audience participation is all part of the fun at John Lawson’s circus. So be prepared to get wet and have a great time.