Review: Circus of Horrors at Harlow Playhouse

Review: The Circus of Horrors, Night of the Zombie

By Jo O’Reilly

THERE aren’t too many scenarios where you find yourself staring at a dwarf’s genitals as the precursor to your Sunday evening entertainment. That said, The Circus of Horrors is not your everyday piece of theatre. Part Rocky Horror Show and Part Aerosmith Tribute Act, Night of the Zombie is as ever, all big hair and fake blood and not for the easily offended.

Despite a stint on Britain’s Got Talent, which gave the touring freak show a shove into the mainstream, The Circus of Horrors still relies heavily garish costumes, extreme body-modification and naked nuns. Not forgetting dwarves with hoovers attached to their genitals. Diehard fans of the show probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Attempting to turn the menagerie of acts into a musical with its own cohesive storyline and backing band seems like a waste. They could have stripped this element back and squeezed in more of the good stuff. It is after all the acts themselves, the sword-swallowing, contortionists and knife throwing, that The Circus of Horror does best.

The only real nod to the zombie theme was having hordes of the un-dead crawl over the seated audience towards the stage. This is something that worked particularly well in the main auditorium at The Playhouse. As with everything else the Circus of Horrors doesn’t do subtle when it comes to audience participation.

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