Wednesday, January 26

The Secret Circus – Unity Theatre

Showcasing local talent and alternative acts, the Secret Circus provides a variety show based on fun. Offering opportunity to local acts, it aims to share originality and diversity in entertainment. With the line-up and acts changing, no two performances are the same, so it is roulette on the experience you’ll get on the night.

Compered by The Queen of Heartbreak, Beija Flo and Naffrodite, the audience encountered a selection of the entertainment Liverpool has to offer.

Eleven performers took to the stage, many in costume and some appearing to suffer the impact of nerves. First up was Trev Fleming, who gave a reading of three poems. The final one, Christmas Dinner, touched the audience and had a nostalgic poignancy within it.

This was followed by some interpretative dance from The Dan Nasty, who held a rather gothic look and mimed to a song. The body movements were interesting and the act a little abstract, especially for a Christmas spectacular.

Compere Beija Flo took to the stage with a keyboard to perform some songs, one of which she had written herself. With a distinctly bluesy sound and soulful voice, she expressed why it’s too loud for her at Christmas. 

The mood was lifted by Naffrodite, another compere, who also sang but did so in a way that quickly had the audience on-board with her. Her performance was the difference between sharing a talent and providing an experience with that talent. Coming across as a seasoned performer, she gave a unique rendition of Minnie Riperton’s Loving You and invited audience involvement.

The laughs continued with the inimitable Nana Funk’s set. Demonstrating skill and reminiscent Mrs Doubtfire, she took questions the audience had put to her and answered them in song form, improvising as she went. Her rendition of ‘Spooky Dog’ is up there with Phoebe from Friends ‘Smelly Cat’.

Bringing the first half to a close, burlesque performer Lux DeLioux shimmied and cavorted around the stage with a thread of farcical storytelling interwoven. It was nothing if not different.

With the performers and audience warmed up, the second half had more relaxed vibes to it. Returning to poetry, it opened with Paddy Clarke’s recitals. His creation of Overliteral Boy and Figment of the Imagination Girl is original and was performed from memory.

Continuing with original creations, singer Kaya followed on with a sustainable take on Santa Baby and a personal comedy lecture which had the audience engrossed.

Staying true to Christmas style, The Queen of Heartbreak gave a unique Queen’s Speech, complete with the audience rising for the occasion and entrance music.

However, the highlights came at the end. Firstly, it saw Nana Funk return to the stage to do a superb striptease in character whilst singing along to Santa Baby – an experience you never knew you needed in life and one which had the audience in stitches.

Then as a finale, favourites Jolly Boat treated appeared for a few songs and riled up the audience into singing along. Their creativity and word play has to be seen to be believed.

A special mention must also be given to BSL interpreter Andy, who participated and joked throughout the evening as well as ensuring he kept up with the communications (which was quite a task in the final Jolly Boat song!) 

Reviewer: Ezzy LaBelle

Reviewed: 10th December 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★