The Royal London Circus came back to Malaysia again
and is doing a tour of the major cities in Sarawak. I caught the show
in Sibu, where it is still currently running at the Old Airport (near
UCS new campus).
The big top for The Royal London Circus 2006 is set up at the old
airport of Sibu and tickets go for RM 25, RM 35, and RM 55 for Class C,
Class B, and Class A seating respectively. I got two tickets of the
Class A seats for RM 110. Class A seats are closest to the circus ring.
The Royal London Circus holds a lot of fond memories for me – I’ve
been to the show three times in my life (counting this one). The first
one was during my childhood – my dad took me to watch the late night
show when I was 5 years old and the second time was when I was 13 – I
went to watch a couple of shows when The Royal London Circus were here
This time, we caught the 2 pm show and saw some of the acrobats from
China arriving with their Romanian coach in car before the show. I went
early with my gf to get prime seats so I could take videos and photos.
It turns out that we didn’t have to worry coz practically no one went
for the RM 55 tickets, preferring the back seats, so we had pretty much
free reign in the Class A area.
The Royal London Circus big top is enclosed in a sealed camp which
has toilet amenities as well as food and snacks – classic circus fare
like popcorn and pink cotton candy. There are some mildly amusing
quotes carved into blocks of wood near the concessions area with
phrases like “All who spend money here goes to heaven. The more you
spend the closer you get to heaven!!!” and “I don’t like to commit
myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places”
a little further down.
The food sold inside The Royal London Circus compound requires food
coupons to purchase. The food coupons are purchased at face value and
can be redeemed at any of the food stands. One bottle of mineral water
costs RM 3 and the same goes for popcorn and cotton candy. Strangely
enough, there were vendors inside the big top during the show which
sells the same items for cash.
The Royal London Circus seems to have a smaller big top this time,
with different entrances on one facade leading towards the three
different seating areas. Class C tickets are to the back and barricaded
away from the main action while Class B tickets are behind the Class A
area and is cordoned off with latch doors. Class A spans the sides of
the circus performer’s entrance and the front of the stage.
The Royal London Circus also has animals on show outside the big top
to entertain patrons before the show starts. The animals are show
animals it seems like the animals are rotated coz I saw small monkeys
in cage before we went in and ponies when the show was over.
The big top opens at around 1:30 pm and we went inside to get good
seats – I sat directly in front of the stage, and the circus ring was
close enough to touch if one reaches out with the fingers. My gf was
apprehensive about stampeding circus animals at this proximity but I
told her nothing bigger than an elephant is on the show (which was
The Royal London Circus has a stage which consists of one ring – the
main circus performing area and a live band setup with drum kits and
all at the top, elevated from the circus ring. The entire setup is
colored a cheerful red with white drapes hanging down (which are used
for a circus act, as we found out) and the famed Sphere of Terror – a
spherical locked cage – prominently displayed on one side.
The Royal London Circus popcorn goes for RM 3 inside the ring (same
price but paid with cash) and it’s a good thing they sold food inside
the circus ring coz I ate quite a lot of stuff from popcorn to sodas to
burgers. Classic circus fare, ya know, you gotta partake it in for the
full experience. ;)
The Royal London Circus show started with a familiar
clown/ringleader that seems to have been in the last two show I’ve been
– he’s a rather old (but grandfatherly) British chap, and a little too
skinny for a clown. The first routine in the circus introduces the
clown (which also acts as the ringleader) waking up from a slumber…
…and putting on his clothes…
…with his hat provided by the assistant…
…before introducing the entire circus cast! :)
Download: Royal London Circus intro video [sixthseal.com]
The three Chinese acrobats from China started off the show with a
funny three hat juggling act. It’s funnier than it sounds; you really
have to watch this one to appreciate the slapstick humor. It’s a
combination of choreography and over the top facial expressions that
makes this act work.
Download: Royal London Circus Chinese acrobats [sixthseal.com]
The next circus act is the obligatory Arabian dance by sharp
featured, skimpily dressed Caucasian females. It has been a Royal
London Circus tradition to have an act like this interspaced throughout
the show and I swear I can recognize some of the women from a Can Can
dance routine back when I was 13.
Download: Royal London Circus Arabian dance [sixthseal.com]
The white drapes at the back of the circus ring mentioned previously
was used as a prop for the next act – it was the most beautiful and
moving performance in the entire lineup. The performance was done by a
pair fusing elements of acrobatics and ballet with choreography,
defying gravity by moving fluidly through the air using just the cloth
drapes…an absolutely delightful and charming performance.
Download: Royal London Circus ballet [sixthseal.com]
There was also a poodle performance entailing simple arithmetic done
by the trained dogs through barking and the act also has the dogs
running around and jumping through hoops and standing on chairs.
The next performance is also animal related – it’s the elephant! The
elephant was brought in by two Indian handlers and the chained animal
was made to do some tricks around the ring.
The act had the elephant lifting up one of the handlers at one point and they also got the pachyderm to play ball.
Download: Royal London Circus elephant [sixthseal.com]
The intermission came at this point and there were photo ops with
the elephant and also a pony. I went for the elephant. It cost me RM 15
to sit on the elephant and I felt sorry for the big dude, he has really
sad eyes (it’s a he, I looked) and a bony body.
The Royal London Circus started the second act with acrobats from
Mexico in a double ring contraption that works by having both of them
standing inside the respective rings and moving them around.
One of the circus performers was blindfolded and then started moving
around the inner ring while his partner stepped out and walked on the
contraption itself. It was entertaining, but it made me dizzy.
Download: Royal London Circus Mexican act [sixthseal.com]
The pretty kicking ponies came out next…
…followed by more pretty kicking ponies, sorry, I mean performers. ;)
Download: Royal London Circus dance [sixthseal.com]
The Chinese trio came out with another slapstick humor act after
that. I noticed that one of them had a perforation in his suit, right
where his crotch was, and I pointed that out to my girlfriend. That was
pretty funny. ;)
The dreamy ethereal ballet dancer from Romania came out next to do an elegant routine, which I enjoyed tremendously.
This performance also included a trapeze act with her partner in addition to the choreographed gymnastics.
Download: Royal London Circus trapeze [sixthseal.com]
The Sphere of Terror was set up to mark the end of the show. There
were four motorcycles in total revving their engines and going around
the metal sphere in carefully choreographed loops.
It’s another cliche circus act, but the crowd seems to like it.
Download: Royal London Circus Sphere of Terror [sixthseal.com]
The Royal London Circus cast and crew came out for an encore after
that, marking the end of the show. It lasted a good 2 1/2 hours in
total and it was pretty entertaining and nostalgic to watch.
Download: Royal London Circus encore [sixthseal.com]
The Royal London Circus is a great circus act – it
may have been trimmed down in terms of cast and acts since its
inception but it’s still entertaining as always.