Family Show Review: Circus Zyair, Hemel Hempstead
Circus Zyair, Hemel Hempstead
Things We Like
- Terrific Entertainment For All Ages
- A Variety Of Different Acts
- Great Atmosphere Inside Tent
- Wheel Of Death Was A Particular Highlight
- £18 Groupon Deal for Four Was A Bargain
Things We Dislike
- Uncomfortable Seating
- Delayed Start Time
- Few Mistakes Made During Performances
What’s It All About?
Circus Zyair is a travelling circus which provides a fun, exciting and entertaining experience for the whole family. Under the canopy of an intimate Big Top, expect two hours of flying acrobats, skilled jugglers and fearless daredevils as you gasp, laugh and cheer along to the eclectic group performing in the ring.
What Do We Think?
We went to see Circus Zyair on a Sunday afternoon having bought a Groupon deal to get four tickets and popcorn for a hugely discounted £18. Having seen the epitome of circus entertainment (OVO by Cirque Du Soleil) just a few months ago, we weren’t quite sure what to expect of this low-budget version – however, what we discovered was an exciting spectacular laced with humour and the slightest touch of amateurism which kept us all on the edge of our seats.
The show was due to start around 3pm and we arrived 20 or so minutes before that. As we had a Groupon voucher, we went to the box office first, but found that we could have just joined the main queue from the start. Our tickets were checked whilst in the queue and we were given vouchers for the popcorn. We were shown to our seats (which are first come, first served), which provided a side view of the stage from the back of the tent. It’s worthwhile mentioning that a pillar restricted our view slightly and the benches were pretty uncomfortable after a while.
I went to grab popcorn with our vouchers and found a massive queue – it probably took 15 or so minutes. Things were running behind, which worked in my favour, and I managed to get back to our seats just before the performance started at around 3.20pm. Obviously delays like this happen, but you could see that some young kids (ours included) were a bit frustrated and bored with the delay to proceedings.
However, soon was forgotten as the Circus Zyair show started. Over the next two hours, we were treated to a variety of acts, ranging from flying acrobats to skilled jugglers to fearless daredevils to comedic clowns. All of this was set to an eclectic mix of rock and dance music, plus impressive lighting displays which really added to the spectacle. In total, there were over 10 different acts, with a clown skit usually in between each one.
Without question, the best part of the show was the cheerily named Wheel Of Death. This featured two daredevils who perform death-defying stunts inside and atop of two connected wheels which spin above the stage. The speed, height and lack of safety net meant the tension, excitement and disbelief among the audience was palpable. It really was incredible to see.
Other notable performances include the Globe Of Death (what is it with the name Death?!) which was the finale of the show and saw three motorcycles ride around a large, mesh sphere ball without hitting each other. I also liked the ‘male pole dancer’ who cleverly combined his athleticism and strength with quirky humour when performing on the Chinese Pole.
There was also a young boy with a diabolo, a group of performers who climbed up and down ladders whilst balancing each other on their heads, a plate spinning tightrope walker and a contortionist who managed to fit through a stringless tennis racket. None of these acts felt like they outstayed their welcome and enough variety was present to stop you or the kids getting bored.
A special mention for the clown too. His appearances were much welcomed and genuinely funny – unlike in OVO by Cirque Du Soleil where it became tedious after a while. Arriving to the same high tempo music and blowing his whistle to communicate, he entertained and hyped up the audience with acts like the human table trick or catching a potato on a fork. Some parts genuinely made me laugh out loud which I never thought I’d be saying about a clown (although, to be fair, he didn’t look very clown-like).
There were a few mistakes and retakes during the show. I guess that’s the difference between something like Circus Zyair and something like Cirque Du Soleil. However, having said that, this just added to the anticipation and nervousness when it came to things like the Wheel Of Death. Obviously everyone was professional and hugely experienced, but there was a sense of fear then relief because you didn’t know what was going to happen.
From a family-friendly perspective, apart from the ‘danger’, there was nothing I’d deem to not be suitable for kids. You can’t take buggies or prams inside, so we used a carrier for our baby son who surprisingly slept through most of the show despite the noise and lights. As the structure is temporary, you need to be a bit careful of trip hazards, particularly with young kids. There were a couple of portable toilets outside too.
This was the kids’ first circus experience and the first one us adults have been to since we were kids ourselves. Expectations of Circus Zyair were relatively low before going, but we thoroughly enjoyed it and were entertained throughout. Despite being tired and a bit fidgety, our 3.5 year old daughter absolutely loved it. There was plenty of variety, the atmosphere was electric and the performers were great.
However, there was something about being in a tent in a muddy field surrounded by trailers, being packed in on uncomfortable benches and smelling popcorn and candy floss whilst watching people risk their lives which made the experience even better. In fact, I think I actually enjoyed Circus Zyair more than Cirque Du Soleil as a result.
What Does It Look Like?
What Do I Need To Know?
Type: Circus and Acrobatics
Dates: 22nd to 27th March at Hemel Hempstead, then continuing to tour around the UK until June (including Southend, Brighton, Hatings, Weston-Super-Mare, Salisbury and Christchurch).
Price: From £6 to £16 for child (under 2’s free) and £8 to £22 for adults depending on seats.
Duration: Approx. 2 hours (including 15 mins interval).
Age Range: Babies and Toddlers (0-3), Young Children (4-8), Older Children (9-12).