A night with the Netherlands National Circus in Haydock, Merseyside.

Last week, myself Mike and Tristan were lucky enough to go watch the spectacular Netherlands National Circus when it made its stop at Haydock race course. We didn't know what to expect as we'd never seen that particular circus troop before, so we wrapped up warm and drove to the race course to make the most of a gloomy Saturday night.

We were in for a treat. The circus itself looked quite small from the outside - but it had a refreshments area when you first entered the tent itself which sold the usual treats such as hotdogs, popcorn and candyfloss (and wine if you are so inclined) then you presented your tickets at another barrier granting you access into the big top itself. We had ringside seats, so we were escorted to a makeshift booth right at the front which is incredibly close to the action!

Once we had been seated (and once I had ventured out to get a good stockpile of treats for us) the show began. There was a five minute warning before the show did start, allowing people to make last minute trips to the toilets or to go grab a sweet treat before the show. As you can see, there was a wonderful assortment of people representing a whole range of countries as part of the circus acts - I admittedly wondered what I'd let myself in for at this point, but I was about to be amazed.

Every circus has its clowns, right? The Netherlands National Circus was no exception. The clowns they had entertaining the crowd were fun and really engaging - a special shout out to this gentleman who saw Tristan had put his hood up to hide himself from being squirted with water.. The clown came back when Tristan wasn't expecting a soaking and made sure he got him! I loved that aspect because it reassured me that the clowns were taking notice of the crowd they were working, it made it so much more personal!

The acts began soon after we were introduced to the clowns. Each act was accompanied by a live band playing music for them to perform to, and the music they did play was upbeat and often very familiar (such as Radio Gaga by Queen). This added to the experience, and I often found myself tapping my foot to the beat.

The acts were varied -

A contortionist who had a fantastic sparkly wardrobe. I don't want to spoil her finale but I can assure you, its something incredible. A lot of the acts seemed to have more than one specialty up their sleeve also, faces became familiar and you began to recognise them in their different guises.

This act was about ball control - no really. Having 6-8 very bouncy, very small balls which were thrown at varying angles against glass - yet he still managed to control them and catch them in different sequences.

This was the only act of the evening that came with a warning. Its laser based, and the ringmaster did advise that if you wanted to leave the main tent for the act you could return in five minutes and it would be finished. It was an intense light show which had lasers spanning the crowd from various angles.

This act was one of my personal favourites - and not as Mike pointed out, because this gentleman took his top off half way through. He was balanced between two crossed tightropes, and entertained us by flipping between each one and dancing on the wire itself.

Pirates! Juggling, ladder climbing pirates! This act made me cringe so badly - especially when they were on top of the ladders, juggling things which were on fire. As you can see by the picture above, at one point they were balancing huge flaming poles on their chin - and made their way down the ladder with them still there. Mind blown.



Finally, the night was wrapped up by some amazing feats of strength. These guys were amazing, and it was obvious they trusted each other and were comfortable working alongside one another. The positions they ended up in were amazing, but I've shared a few simply because I had to. I can't describe someone balancing on someone elses head without a photograph or two, right?

All in all, we had a wonderful time - I really, really recommend going along to see the show if they're in your local area and even if it is a little bit of a drive - go see it. You have no excuse - the tend is heated, there are lots of deals on half price tickets available through their website and the local area around the days they perform, and its a fantastic family treat!

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She & Life: A night with the Netherlands National Circus in Haydock, Merseyside.
A night with the Netherlands National Circus in Haydock, Merseyside.
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