Jim Rose Circus
In our secular age we like to think that entertainment has advanced from the public executions, gladiatorial games and visits to the asylum, for an ogle at the local loonies that have permeated history. Jim Rose Circus: Stairway to Hell (read freak-show) bucks this trend in an orgy of chainsaws, razor swallowing and full frontal nudity.
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Unfortunately the much hyped ‘fusion of theatre and party’ proves to be little more than an embarrassing attempt by an old ring master to shock a modern audience. Most people admitted to this will have either grown out of the ‘humour’ or will be impervious to Rose’s efforts to make them squirm. He attempts every conceivable trick to disgust: spitting on stage, eating glass or singing about how big his balls are; all resulting in a pathetically adolescent tone.
This feeling of ‘old rockers’ trying to stay young is only enhanced by the 80s tribute band on stage – who look more like an odd collection of pirates with a midget captain than anything else. It quickly becomes apparent, with the rise of shows like ‘Jackass’ that it has become next to impossible to genuinely shock a modern audience. Jim Rose Circus treats its audience like imbeciles – and in truth by 11:45 most festival goers are slightly sozzled anyway – and is best avoided as a sad attempt to shock.