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Silvers rekindles circus magic

Arts & Culture

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Returning to Adelaide after a five-year absence, Silvers Circus brings old-school excitement back to the big-top.

Launching into the show with a traditional “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls …” our tail-coated ring master razzle-dazzled us with all the sparkles, flames and tricks for which the circus is famous.

If you have concerns about performing animals in a “traditional circus”, then put your mind to rest. Silvers has maintained all the exotic mystery of the circus, minus the four-legged performers – with the one exception of several boxer dogs who seem happy enough to be playing AFL, this is a show of human skill, strength, agility and showmanship.

The show includes all the favourites: clowns, acrobats, hula-hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers and girls in sparkling costumes who seem to appear and disappear all over the place. Acts are executed with eyebrow-raising skill, with no major surprises or deviations from the tried-and-tested formula. This just adds to the child-like joy of the circus tradition and all that it is meant to be. Go with an open heart, ready to be entertained for entertainment’s sake.

The standout act, as determined by my kids’ excitement all the way home, was the motorcycles in the “Globe of Death” – three motorbikes speeding around the inside of a 3.5m-diameter globe.

As much as the circus is about the performance itself, it is also about everything that comes with it: the party of caravans parked around the big-top, the smell of popcorn and grass, the brightly coloured sideshow, spruikers and excited children. It’s a sensory experience and one that I had almost forgotten about until this outing. I thought we had moved on to a classier form of circus full of art, beauty and quiet audiences, but luckily the good old-fashioned tradition of the travelling circus family show is still alive and well.

My young boys watched wide-eyed for the entire performance, and for me that is where the true magic lies. They excitedly ran up to the ring master and other performers after the show to chat.

This will be a big hit over school holidays, with wide-eyed children experiencing the magic of the circus for the first time and adults equally delighted to be reliving the joy of circuses past.

Silvers Circus is in Bonython Park until May 11.

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