King of the circus ring

If you're asking for an expert opinion on a circus, there are probably very few better people to ask than Norman Barrett.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 12:38 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:08 am
Norman Barrett

The ringmaster is renowned for being one of the best in the world and was even awarded an MBE in 2010 for services to entertainment.

He’s probably best known for his 25 years at the Blackpool Tower Circus and his working partnership with legendary clown Charlie Cairoli.

However more recently, he has been performing with Zippo’s Circus, the company behind Cirque Berserk, which opened last night at Blackpool Opera House.

Despite being a great lover of more traditional circus, Norman (pictured) admitted that he’s been looking forward to see Cirque Berserk come to his home town for the first time.

He said: “I have always been sceptical about contemporary circus, which focuses on its pretentious and often dull story-telling, rather than the artiste’s daring and skills.

“But, Cirque Berserk is brilliant and exciting, a combination of extraordinary circus skills and thrills plus bespoke West End style costumes, sets, music, sound and lighting.

“The production works really well, it’s a positive move for circus and will draw in all sorts of new audiences who would not necessarily think the Big Top traditional circus is for them, but still want to experience the jaw-dropping thrills it can offer.”

He added: “Cirque Berserk is a high energy, fast-moving upmarket production that will keep your feet tapping and your heart in your mouth! It’s a must see for families, teenagers and thrill-seekers of any age.”

Featuring more than 30 jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, musicians and death-defying stunt men, there really is something for everyone.

They also boast one of the best clowns in the business, in Tweedy and the legendary ‘Globe of Death’ - featuring somebody stood in the middle of a spherical cage with up to four motorcycles whizzing around at 60mph.

If you want a little taster of what to expect from this truly thrilling and terrifying spectacle, there’s a video on The Gazette’s Facebook page, where I bravely (or foolishly) agreed to stand in the middle of said cage.

Cirque Berserk will take place every evening this week at the Blackpool Opera House.

To book tickets, visit