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Monday, February 21, 2011

Circus rolls up with a stunning display
Dutch clown Pom-Pom is one of the stars of the Netherlands National Circus
Monday, February 21, 2011
The Netherlands National Circus Trentham Estate
SITTING ringside is probably the worst place to be if you're the shy and retiring type.
On Friday, The Netherlands National Circus made its return to Trentham Estate, where it will remain throughout half-term.
It is an animal-free production, meaning that the entertainment is left to a talented cast of jaw-droppingly flexible gymnasts, trapeze artists and a clown with an eye for the ladies.
Helped along by plenty of audience participation, it's no use pretending you can get away with clapping along politely.
If you're really going to enjoy yourself, you've got to fully commit to shouting, singing and cheering as loudly as you can.
Which is where poor "Samantha" stepped in.
Once the clown took a shine to her, singling her out of a virtually sold-out Big Top, she had no escape.
Part of the humour with these things comes from the relief you feel when you're not the one being picked on.
At any rate I was thanking my lucky stars that he didn't zone in on me. He was getting ever closer – and I was considering making a dash for it – when he mercifully stopped next to Samantha (as she gave her name to everyone).
To be fair she did a brilliant job when it came to joining in.
I saw the same circus a couple of years ago and, thanks to the newly-formed double act with his victim, the clown has got even funnier.
Most of the other acts, which featured some familiar and new faces, also bettered the previous performance.
But because some of the juggling and balancing feats were so technically complex, not everything went to plan. There was the occasional wobble, albeit nothing too serious. Still, the acrobatic displays – including an "I can't believe they just did that" group of Limbo dancers – were simply stunning.
With tickets starting from £10 for a child, it's fairly pricey. However, as a half-term treat it can't be beaten.
My five-year-old son Max certainly enjoyed himself.
Although if we go again we'll be avoiding ringside seats. Next time around we might be made to walk the high wire.
The Netherlands National Circus runs until Sunday, February 27. Call the box office on 08444 155228.
Zita Collinson

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