The Big Top Review: The Circus Of Horrors

December 2, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

1Bigtop300THE BIG TOP: Wednesday 2nd December, BBC1, 7.30pm, ALERT ME

A lot of people have an irrational fear of clowns. There’s something really eerie about their permanent smiles and deathly white make up that gives people the willies.

After watching Big Top, there’s a whole new reason to be avoid them as it’s an absolutely woeful comedy show which should be fired out of a cannon into the sun at the first available opportunity.

Lizzie the Ringmistress (Amanda Holden) is struggling to keep her circus alive as it’s populated by terrible clown duo, (John Thomson and Sophie Thompson), cynical soundman Erasmus (Tony Robinson) a hapless Eastern European juggler Boyco (Bruce Mackinnon) and grande dame and dog trainer Georgie (Ruth Madoc) and is consequently getting bad reviews.

It’s not only the negative reviews that is threatening the circus’s survival – there’s competition from a rival circus down the road. (What kind of town has two circuses anyway?). With a health and safety inspection looming, everybody fears the worst only for Lizzie to be asked out by the inspector. At his insistence she takes her first night off in six years which forces the circus performers to look after themselves for once.

You might as well ascribe the circus’s terrible fictional reviews to the show itself, it’s about as funny as squeaky red noses and whitewash down your pants.

It’s a decent ensemble cast, John Thomson in particular is a fine actor and Tony Robinson’s comedy pedigree speaks for itself. Quite why they’re in this total abomination of a programme is therefore totally beyond me. There’s nothing funny about any of it – the clown duo’s ideas for comedy acts are lame (ferrets down the trousers – clearly the height of original comedy), Tony Robinson’s snarky soundman shtick is devoid of any kind of inspiration and the less said about Bruce Mackinnon’s terrible Eastern European accent the better.

This really is dreadful. The jokes are tired, awful, groan-worthy, obvious and pathetic – it’s a veritable cavalcade of tedium. I didn’t laugh once, not once, and my mouth only inclined upwards when the credits rolled. Actually even then I was too busy staring at the floor thinking about the half hour of my life I’d never get back. It’s actually so bad that I think watching reruns of My Hero would actually be preferable and that’s like saying being poked in the eye is better than decapitation.

How do you kill a circus? Go straight for the juggler. Ha. No seriously, go straight for the remote.

Rhiannon Oliver says:

I sat and watched this with my Dad, both stoned out of our trees at christmas. Around seven minutes in, my Father turned to me and said with a look of vexed confusion, as though he was missing a massive point; ‘….do you think this is funny?’. And out of my dribbling stupor I sprang, with a loud guffaw and resounding ‘Fuck no!’ -we laughed hysterically that we’d both been looking for the joke for all that time and promptly changed the channel. It’s wank, and not ironically, it’s just wank.

Lloyd Ellis says:

what i don’t understand is why the director has the cast stand in a semi circle doing nothing except scratch their noses for the duration of the “gags”…. at least dibley had a fictional meeting around a table for it’s setting for jokes… this is transparent rubbish. what a waste of time.

Coral Levett says:

After reading this review I have decided that I think the Review and the Review Writer are far more funnier than The Big Top is ever going to be… I shant be loosing half hour of my life on it, Thanks Jez!

Caro Bradley says:

Big Flop! I couldn’t agree more. Quite how they managed to make such a dire programme with such a wonderful cast is beyond me. I didn’t laugh once either! I read somewhere that this was a wonderful, colourful family comedy to beat the credit crunch blues? Colourful it was – funny it was NOT! And they say it will continue over the Christmas Holidays – Oh dear! groan! will have to get the 80’s box sets out again.