Dear Mummy, I’m a massive fan of the circus and have been visiting since I was a toddler. The sights, the sounds and the smells, there’s nothing better than a trip to the big top to lift our spirits. We were super glad to hear that Zippos Circus was back touring and bringing joy to families in what’s been a pretty hard year for everyone.
Zippos Circus was back on the road following a break due to COVID-19 with a Big Top tour ‘Rebound! As circuses are classed as outdoor venues they have now been allowed to reopen ahead of theatres. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the big top looming over Southsea Common and the word Zippos spelt out in light-bulbs at the entrance. I wasn’t going to miss this for the world!
We love to support the arts, and the circus industry has been largely overlooked during the pandemic, with other sectors opening slowly and trying to recoup a lot that has been lost during COVID-19. Like a lot of people we were slightly apprehensive about being in a big tent filled with people. Even though Zippos Circus has addressed some of the safety issues, spectators during our visit didn’t necessarily heed advice.
Wearing masks in the big top and keeping social distance was lapse at our visit. It does explain that mask wearing is voluntary on Zippos website, but making it compulsory would have put our minds more at ease. We counted only four families out of everyone there wearing them. Not necessarily Zippos fault but we would have felt safer if some rules had been enforced. Especially as you need to wear masks in shopping malls in the UK now. Zippos also sell face masks now onsite, so there shouldn’t be any excuse not to help keep people safe.
However we were reassured that Zippos Circus was awarded the Visit England ‘We’re Good to Go’ Industry Standard mark. Verifying that the circus has met the Government and public health guidance on COVID-19 and has the required health and safety processes in place.
A one-way system was introduced on our visit and a lot of the seats have been taken out to ensure spacing between family bubbles, however on the night we attended the show was sold out and it seemed very busy. The big top fortunately had more ventilation with the skirts being lifted underneath the bleachers. A nice cool breeze wafted throughout the 2 hour performance. They also had PPE for staff, antibacterial fogging between shows and random non-invasive temperature checks for selected visitors.
Hand sanitiser points were positioned at high traffic areas, and toilets were on site as well with hand washing facilities. It would have been good to have a toilet attendant to minimise the amount of people in the toilets though, because at one point it was rammed with no social distancing. We’d advise go well before the show starts and not at the interval if you can to maintain social distancing.
Enough of COVID-19 though, back to the performance, it was AMAZING! We really can’t fault the show and the performers were fabulous. We missed veteran Ringmaster Norman Barrett, 84, and his budgies, as he wasn’t performing due to the pandemic. In his place was Zippos’ first female Ringmistress Britain’s own Tracy Jones. For me it was very inspiring to see a lady as host and mistress of ceremonies.
I was very impressed with The ‘Timbuktu Tumblers’ from Kenya performing their balancing act and the fire limbo and Brazilian showman Paulo Dos Santos, who is a multi-talented comic, acrobat and martial artist – and stands at only just over a metre tall. Hugely talented and like all the performers it was just a sheer joy to watch them entertain us.
Without giving too much away, we wouldn’t want to ruin it for you, we enjoyed watching the famous Globe of Death with its team of motorcyclists performing high velocity stunts. I loved the slow mo fighting between Paulo Dos Santos and French funny man Emilion, which had me belly laughing! Plus the amazing nail-biting knife-throwing from the Czech Republic troop which had me peeking between my fingers; foot juggling from France and hand-balancing from the Garcia family featuring their talented teenage sons, to name a few. The final act was without doubt one of the most high adrenaline ones we have seen to date but if you want to know more, well then you will just have to make the trip so don’t delay! Daddy said it was like a cross between Peaky Blinders (a programme he watches) and a space movie.
Split into two acts with an interval, the show didn’t feel long. It lasts for 2 hours. They are doing two shows a day, apart from the final day with just one in the afternoon The 2020 tour starts at Southsea Common until 9th August 2020. Then it will travel to Brighton (11th-16th) and Blackheath (19th-1st September). There will be an allocation of tickets available for walk-ups, but please note that only debit cards will be accepted.
The show is quality and we’d totally recommend visiting and supporting the circus. In times where we all need a bit more joy, then a trip to the circus totally lifts the spirits and I was bouncing when I left. That in itself is worth venturing out for. If you are still nervous and anxious about COVID-19 then wear a mask with pride as we weren’t made to feel uncomfortable for wearing ours throughout our visit. Thanks Portsmouth and thank you Zippos!
Love Bella x
FIRST NIGHT ONLY – all tickets £8.50 (upgrade to Ringside for extra £3 available)
2-14 years £13
Children aged under 2 go free providing they sit on parent or guardian’s lap
Advance booking is strongly recommended – book online and check tour dates at www.zippos.co.uk There is a £1.50 booking fee on all internet and telephone bookings made via SEE TICKETS. Keep your eye on Zippos Facebook and Instagram too where they are show discounts.
Disclosure: We were invited to Zippos Circus in order to conduct an honest review, all thoughts and memories made are our own.