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The Secret Circus (Live Review @The Unitarian Church)

The Secret Circus
The Secret Circus

The Secret Circus is a cabaret, vaudeville, queer extravaganza that every now and then attempts to pull off one of the biggest variety nights in Merseyside. I’ve been lucky enough to attend Secret Circus shows in the past and each time they are as wild as they are wildly different. In the past I’ve seen them do a wholesome, open air spoken word festival, and I’ve also seen them put on an incredibly NSFW variety show in a sex club. You never really know what to expect.

This event took place in the wonderful Unitarian Church on Ullet Road. I’d never been in before, despite it being a 30 second walk from my flat, but it’s an amazing place. The listed building is an underrated cultural highlight of Liverpool, and after this event I’ll be looking out for whatever else they put on in the future. 

As is standard for the Secret Circus, the acts are all very varied. The Mersey Swing group do a couple of performances throughout the night. This incredibly talented group wow the crowd with an unfortunately less common type of old school dancing. They’re a pleasure to watch. 

There’s also the comedic poet Ryan Chambers, whose wonderful love poems about beating up ducks are the source of much amusement for the crowd. Frank Foucaut also makes an appearance, showcasing his unique brand of comedy on the guitar. It’s awkward and funny, and by the time he’s finished he’s parading around the crowd, screaming at the audience, demanding they film him for their social media accounts. It works, and I now have a video of him losing his shit saved on my phone.

Eva Serration also performs their funny and bizarre brand of drag. Initially they’re dressed as a schoolgirl, re-enacting a popular scene from Kill Bill, only to strip off into a leotard and perform the song Wrecking Ball. All of their acts contain demanding rope work, allowing them to perform some of the stunts from Kill Bill and then immediately transition into actually swinging on their own wrecking ball.

The hosts of the evening, as always, are the eclectic Beija Flo, the Queen of Heartbreak and Naffrodite. Between the acts the hosts are always ready to make the audience laugh and keep up the energy for the entire evening. The Queen of Heartbreak even hands out lyric sheets so we can all sing along to a song about their least favourite things. Each of them bring their own kind of energy to the table and they are without a doubt the glue that holds these events together.

The evening was also supporting the charity Sahir House with a raffle to raise money. Sahir House is an amazing charity that supports the mental and physical wellbeing of people, particularly from the LGBT+ community. They are well worth looking into, and donating a few quid if you can.

Sian Davies is there to do some stand-up comedy. The observational topics they cover while on stage are met with laughter echoing throughout the church. Each point is more relatable than the last, from the innocent yet surreal nature of children, to the complicated weirdness of family life. Then there is Starla Bright, whose dance routines make exceptional and distinctive uses of popcorn and googly eyes.

The headliner is none other than Sister Sister of Drag Race. I personally have been renting over-priced accommodation under a rock it seems, as I’ve still never actually watched Drag Race, but from the audience reaction, this is a big deal. It’s not hard to see why. The routines are captivating and the crowd work is funny. The evening ends with everybody in the middle of the floor alongside Sister Sister dancing together. Wholesome, and quite mad too.

The Secret Circus are doing another Townhouse Takeover next year on 26/07/23, and you can donate to Sahir House on their website.

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