A circus skills face-off of super-sequinned proportions is hitting Hackney this Thursday in Circus Showdown, Hackney Empire. This first Television may have reached saturation point with the now very tired competition format - the squealing, the shrieking, the entirely fabricated tension as the irritating, deluded, talentless contestants wait for the results of the already fixed results of the totally bogus phone-in votes from the audience. The world of live performance is yet to turn against the competition format and still can thrive on the edge a bit of rivalry can give any event.
A bunch of highly trained entertainers ranging from contortionists to firework juggling clowns, from aerialists to acrobats to animal charmers will be using their genuine talent, skill and jaw-dropping bravura to perform some pretty amazing circus stunts in a battle to be crowned as best contemporary circus act in Britain. Compere is crazy firecracker Chris Lynam who quite often clamps fireworks between his buttocks while doing his thing in the nude.
Circus shed its sickly Victoriana and casual animal cruelty a while ago when extreme circus acts replaced clowns' water-squirting flowers with chainsaws and ringmasters interrupted themselves to bang nails through their genitals. Then Cirque du Soleil came along and the sequins, the glamour, the gasps of amazement pushed circus one step further into the 21st century.
And here we are, in an era of renewed love for burlesque, nipple tassles, fishnet stockings, corsets and spectacle upon spectacle. Circus Showdown is the place to be to see the cutting edge of contemporary circus - roll up, roll up and get your first glimpse of the greatest things in the ring.
Circus Showdown, Hackney Empire, Thursday 27 September. For more information and to book tickets, go to the website here.