The art-form and entertainment we know as ‘circus’ began in London 250 years ago.
Who better to tell the story of those early days than the ‘father of the modern circus’, Philip Astley himself?
Swapping his red tail-coat and top hat for the uniform and wig of a 1760s hussar, and his microphone for a playwright’s pen, modern-day ringmaster, circus personality and actor Chris Barltrop brings Astley to vivid, cantankerous larger-than- life to tell his own tale, accompanied by contemporary music and soundscapes.
Barltrop has painstakingly researched, penned, and performs to tell Astley’s story ‘at first hand’. A unique account, a view of the dawn of the Classical circus by a respected life-long exponent who draws on his insider knowledge of circuses and their owners in a fascinating and highly entertaining presentation.
Audacious Mr Astley dissolves the myths to relate how the circus really began. The production won 5-star reviews here in 2018, and ‘Best Show of the 2018 Circus 250 Celebrations’.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) The Cellar: 31st July to 25th August 2019