A night at the theatre runs rings around the circus – Zella Compton

The Netherlands National Circus visited Stokes Bay, Gosport.
The Netherlands National Circus visited Stokes Bay, Gosport.

As anyone who has seen the original stage show of Barnum (not just the recent epic movie), Come Follow the Band is one of the greatest calls to action – in that instance, who wouldn’t want to be told what to do? But instead, we had to follow the blaring mix tape when the Netherlands National Circus showed up in Stokes Bay.

The ticket man was pretty despondent about the state of the industry, how quiet it is and difficult for travelling circuses to make ends meet. I’m not surprised, given that we can watch the most amazing acrobatics from the comfort of our sofas on Britain’s Got Talent, or search the internet for the weird and wonderful.

It’s not like the circus being in town is the only time to see something strange.

But the strange thing was, as much as I enjoyed most of it, the way the circus was choreographed, designed and organised hadn’t changed at all.

It’s still the parade of one act after another, with lots of clapping and the obligatory oohs and ahhs . . . whipped up by the ring master and supporting arm wavers in their various sparkling guises.

But surely, wouldn’t that tell you something if you were a circus owner? If you’re having to lead the clapping, there must be something awry about the performance. Seriously.

Also, and I don’t mean to be rude, and I know I can’t ride a mini-bicycle with three people balanced on my shoulders, but wouldn’t you look at The Greatest Showman – the eminently successful film – and think to yourself, why is this so popular?

Is it because it’s got one person doing one trick for seven long minutes, or is it because it’s beautifully staged and choreographed whole ensemble moments telling big theme stories with passion and glamour? The latter methinks.

Theatre borrows from the circus shamelessly, surely it’s time for the circus to borrow straight back.

It is time for ring masters to stop stealing kisses off unsuspecting women (yuck) and for puppets, stunts and strength to be woven into a show that will draw people in, instead of a collection of side shows in a pop-up marquee.

It’s time for a big show in the big top.

Well, whose idea was it to bury the lock in rotten fruit?

Here’s a question – do you know where your wheel lock is?

I needed a tyre change and was asked by the garage chap for a little help as he searched among the empty pastrami packets and squishy bananas in the door pockets. I never thought of cleaning as I assumed that the garage work would be exterior only.

The lock eventually turned up in the glove compartment underneath sixteen million CDs. This was fine, but had I been stuck on the side of the road attempting to do the job myself, in the rain and dark, I’d have been pretty miffed at scrabbling around trying to find it and fingering rotten fruit in the process. You might know where yours is – but if you don’t? Have a quick check. Save yourself. 

Get down to your local library… while you still can!

Once again, Gosport Library (and probably hundreds of others) is running its summer reading scheme and the theme is... mischief makers. Very striped-jumper-esque if you ask me.

Bring on Minnie the Minx, Dennis the Menace and their gangs. My children all enjoyed taking part in the challenges when they were young. And now, one of my daughters has volunteered to help out at the receiving end, sitting in the library chatting with children about the books they’ve loved, hated, or not been affected by.

I always wanted to work in a library when I was little, the power of the date stamp mesmerised me, the noise and the finality of the date. We must use them or lose them.