This is not your ordinary panto.
Oh no it isn’t.
Set in the extraordinary and historic surroundings of Blackpool Tower, and within that unique environs of the Tower Circus itself – the oldest permanent circus arena in the world built in 1894 – Pinnochio goes where pretty much any other panto has rarely gone.
This is namely namely twirling up into the rafters with mind boggling acrobatics and underwater.
Well not actually underwater, but as the Tower Circus is one of only two in the country with a water tank that fills up mid-performance and probably the only one with a very large whale that swims in (not a real one fortunately for hapless Pinocchio), this is very much an experience you won’t enjoy elsewhere.
It is safe to say that my niece and nephew, aged six and three, were entirely mesmerised by the performance, any residual shyness forgotten as they giggled, laughed out loud, shouted, booed and sang along when not sitting frozen with fascination as awe-inspiringly flexible and strong acrobats twirled and somersaulted above their heads.
Produced and directed by the famous Endresz Family, with seven generations of circus expertise and starring several international circus acts, there is pretty much something for everyone in this circus pantomime, even if it is just groaning at Pinocchio’s (aka Mooky the clown’s) terrible jokes or wondering how on earth the lithe acrobats train themselves into such a state of hyper fitness.
The joy of the circus is that everybody is involved in everything, the star turns themselves including Mooky and ‘baddy’ Boo personally selling flashy toys and signed posters during the interval.
We were also lucky enough to meet the main cast before the show where they showed us a few circus skills and confessed the morning’s rehearsal (it was the first performance after a break) had not quite gone entirely to plan with major whale issues , juggling struggles and a few stunts gone wrong.
But the show went on and I certainly didn’t spot any mistakes – these guys are professionals and you don’t get away with much when you perform in the round wearing eye makeup and juggling so many balls.
When we left the house to Blackpool that day, the wind was whistling, the rain slanting sideways.
The weather was so extreme both the prom and the tower were closed due to 60mph winds and you needed x-Ray vision to see further than two metres.
But once inside the magic of the T owner and circus, the cold was forgotten as the lights came and the performance began. A magical, festive, experience for both children and big kids. We all left with big smiles on our faces under our scarves and woolly hats.
Oh yes we did.
*Pinnochio runs until January 17, 2016