ROLL up, roll up for one of the most enjoyable shows you are likely to see all year.

Circus 1903 serves up a massive helping of nostalgia wrapped up in a package of the highest possible production values and with a cute baby elephant thrown in for good measure. What’s not to love?

Circus 1903 is just that – recreating the sights, sounds and spectacle from the golden age of circus but transforming it into a majestic theatrical experience for a modern family audience.

In an age where digital trickery and hi-tech wizardry can make the impossible seem almost mundane, Circus 1903 fights back and puts skilled performers at the forefront.

The collective jaw dropping experienced by the audience was something to behold as acrobats flew 30 feet into the air, aerialists turned in death-defying performances high above the stage – there are no safety nets in this show – and the incredible dislocationist did things with her body which made you doubt what you were watching.

Some of the world’s finest circus performers have been assembled for this show – forget your Marvel superheroes, these are genuinely extraordinary human beings.

But the really clever thing is how the whole thing works as a theatrical experience. You are immersed in the hustle and bustle of the circus arriving in town. The show is accompanied by a great soundtrack that is cinematic in quality and which heightens the tension when necessary and provides the perfect accompaniment to the tableau unfolding in front of you. And the lighting adds to the whole feeling of being taken back in time.

David Williamson, himself one of the world’s leading magicians, is Willy Whipsnade, the ringmaster and your guide into through this magical world. His interaction with some of the children in the audience provided some of the highlights of the show – for any panto performers, go see him. It’s a masterclass in audience participation.

Then there are the elephants – Queenie and her baby Peanut. Created by the puppeteers behind War Horse once again you start to doubt what you’re seeing. You know they are puppets but you emotionally connect to them and young audience members in particular sat there transfixed when they first appeared on stage.

Sadly, Circus 1903 is only at The Lowry until Saturday. For a genuinely thrilling, enthralling and engaging family show, try to get there. Or let’s hope it gets the chance to return – it’s that good.

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