Nothing is more Blackpool than the Tower Circus, writes Michael Holmes.
Going since May 1894, it has entertained, enthralled, and thrilled thousands of generation after generation of visitors to the resort.
And this year is special, as the ever-brilliant Mooky and his brother Mr Boo, with whom he has a love-hate relationship, are helping to celebrate 250 years of circus.
“We are going to show you a little of circus history, present, and maybe a sneak peak into the future,” the hundreds of people packed into the beautifully ornate arena were told shortly after 4pm on Saturday for the first day of the season.
Mooky and Mr Boo launched into proceedings with a funny, almost Morecambe and Wise meets Tommy Cooper-style sketch, before a variety of acrobats and performers took to the stage.
The highlight, undoubtedly, was the death-defying Star Wars stunt, which saw performers using trampolines to walk sideways up a glass stage and bounce face-first dozens of feet into the air, while strobe lights flashed and the band put their brass instruments to the test.
There was the usual juggling acts, some impressive whip-cracking, as well as some genuinely hilarious impromptu moments from Mooky and Mr Boo.
At one point, a woman got up to leave – and when challenged said she was going to bed ahead of a night on the town.
“Leave her alone,” Mooky told Mr Boo, before adding: “All that lovely blonde hair and you died the roots black.”
I held my bladder until the show ended.
That came after a decent crescendo, which saw the stage drop and filled with water before acrobats in roller-skates circled close to the wet stuff with female performers clutching onto them.
It just missed some real interaction with the artificial lake, which felt a little crow-barred into the show so the spectacle could be shown off once more. Out of all the things to do in Blackpool this year, the Tower Circus will be one of the highlights.
- For tickets, go online to www.theblackpooltower.com/attractions