WORLD-RENOWNED circus performers have kick-started their campaign to wow crowds in Portsmouth.
The Netherlands National Circus has arrived on Southsea Common for 10 days of dazzling shows.
Welcoming families and thrill-seekers into its Big Top arena, the feat has assembled the talents of more than 30 handpicked performers from across the globe.
And from 2.30pm today, their flair will be showcased for two hours, twice-daily, until Sunday, April 15.
Daniel Ligthart, the circus’ ringleader, said his team of stars were ‘really excited’ to be in Portsmouth.
Reflecting on what visitors can expect, he said: ‘This is an all-human show made up of acrobats, clowns and comedians.
‘And as we celebrate 250 years of circus in 2018, we have spent extra money to get better artistes and special acts and put on a great event for everyone.’
At the heart of the display, aerial performers Duo Extreme will put on a high-octane rendition from the lofty heights of the Big Top – suspended over a 4,000-litre tank of water.
The pair will even leap into the container – which will be set alight – to dance before they are propelled to daredevil heights once again.
‘There are only two acts like this in the whole world,’ said Mr Ligthart.
‘I don’t play down the talents of the rest of our acts but this is a real spectacular.
‘It’s the surprise, danger and awe of the performers that make this appealing – it’s certainly not an easy line of work.’
With daily Netherlands National Circus shows pencilled in for 2.30pm and 7pm – and at midday and 3pm on Sundays – it’s Czech diablo extraordinaire Georgio that will get proceedings under way.
Describing the feeling inside the Big Top at the start of a performance, he said: ‘It’s a huge adrenaline rush – I go crazy.
‘I use four diablos at once to get the crowd in the circus mood and from there we all feed off that energy for the show.’
With Leeds highest in his estimations for a top crowd, the performer hopes to be bowled over by the city’s reception.
He added: ‘I’d love Portsmouth to become my new favourite.’
Tickets to The Netherlands National Circus start at £12 and are available at the box office on Southsea Common daily, from 10am to 8pm, opposite Duisburg Way. Alternatively, call 0844 4155 228.