A few years ago I took my then 13 year old son to see Circus of Horrors at Perth Concert Hall. To this day it remains one of my all time favourite shows, a heady mix of horror, freakshow and bizarre human achievement.
Eager to spread the spectacle, I tried to talk my good friend, Lizzi Nicoll, into joining me. This is a woman who has buillt a career in theatre and the arts spanning two continents (she now works at Sydney Dance Company Dahling!); she LOVES a great show. However, it was as though I'd suggested animal sacrifice and she eventually 'fessed up to her bizarre fear of clowns.
It turns out many people have a fear of clowns - which is known as Coulrophobia - and in a young child fear of an unfamiliar face is completely understandable. It becomes more serious though, when the phobia remains with people in later life and causes them to become anxious when confronted with a clown costumes, a clown's facial features and their make up.
A clown therefore would not seem to be the ideal employment for someone who suffers from Coulrophobia, yet Doug Child decided to try and overcome his fear to retain his job in the latest Circus of Horrors production, which will show at Perth Concert Hall on March 5th.
Doug had previously worked on the show and was known as Camp Dracula. Circus of Horrors ringmaster Dr Haze had devised a new show called ‘Welcome to the Carnevil’ and cast Doug as a Killer Klown. Dr Haze warned him that he could only remain in the show if he took on the Killer Klown persona. Dr Haze had no idea of his phobia.
At first Doug kept his phobia to himself and to try and fight the phobia he visited & trained with The Moscow State Circus to overcome his fear. “It was slowly, slowly’” said Doug, “The Moscow State was a good starting point as the clowns there are more like comedy characters, I then moved onto watching The Joker in Batman & Steven Kings IT”.
It took Doug ages and when he first donned his horrendous costume he could not look at himself in the mirror, “I had to get other people to apply my make up and tell me what it looked like, the first time I saw myself I freaked out & washed it off immediately”. Doug even resorted to hypnotherapy.
Eventually he did overcome the Phobia and now stars as Rellik the Psycho Clown on The Circus of Horrors tour.
The show rose to fame after storming into the finals of Britain's Got Talent before becoming a West End & now a world wide smash, this year creating history by becoming the first UK circus to appear in Japan & Russia.
The latest incarnation ‘Welcome to the Carnevil’ is set in Victorian London in 1899, Jack the Ripper was still at large & this was the age of the Freakshow. Three young & damned adolescents dream of running away to join the Circus only to see their dream become a nightmare in a decrepit & corpse ridden Carnevil, plagued by a swamp of Killer Klowns, Sword Swallowers, Demon Dwarves, Death Deifying Aerialists, A Guinness World Record holding Hairculian Diva swinging solely from her hair, back flipping & fire limboing acrobats.
This was a show ruled by the undead & climaxing in an awesome flaming apocalypse. It's also the one you will witness when you take your seat on March 5th!
The story twists and turns with grisly murders and sensational shock’s – all interwoven with some of the greatest and most bizarre circus acts on earth, performed by an almighty cast with a forked tongue firmly in each cheek and the devil driven rock n’ roll of Dr Haze & The Interceptors from Hell.
If Quentin Tarantino had directed Cirque Du Soleil then you would be only half way there.
(If it's good enough for Heat Magazine, it's good enough for SCBP!)
‘I loved it & I’m sure the royal family would love to watch this’. Simon Cowell.
‘Fantastic, that’s what I call entertainment’. - David Hasselhoff.
‘That was incredible’ - Ant or Dec (never know which ones which).
‘Totally Unbelievable’ - Scott Mills, Radio 1
‘You have to go & see this if, one day something will go wrong & you will be able to say I was there’ - Graham Norton.
May is Local History Month and Culture Perth and Kinross has organised events at libraries throughout the region to celebrate.