CIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie Smith

CIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie SmithCircus Of Horrors
Parr Hall, Warrington
12th March 2022

The craziest alternative circus known to man is back, with revamped show – The Witches. We were there to capture the incredible rock ‘n’ roll freak cabaret show. The show has elements of burlesque, Victorian freak show, bizarre, all played out with a live rock music soundtrack.

It’s been eight years since I photographed this troupe and reported back on the performance. I was keen to know what had changed. Unfortunately, my favourite two female acrobats (evil blonde twins) were involved in a bad accident when they performed last night at Victoria Hall in Hanley, but despite this, the show goes ahead. Doc Haze the ringmaster who usually opens the show is not present onstage tonight, we only hear his voice ringing out with narration, initially telling us to “fuck off if we are offended by bad language” and scenes of horror – it is not for “people of a nervous disposition”.

CIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie SmithCIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie SmithCIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie Smith

The Witches is loosely based on the theme of the Salem witch trials; “a sideshow has come to England, and one of its performers is an ancestor of Bridget Bishop who was one of the 19 poor souls hung for witchcraft in the 1600s.” The show kicks off with Hannibal Hellmurtos, sword swallowing all manner of swords; curved, straight, serrated and even a chair leg. A high rope trapeze act follow, which is beautifully portrayed and must be so nerve-racking – I know my heart is in my mouth just watching. Then follows an amazing amalgamation of acts. We have fire-eating, bizarre stunts, a witchcraft seance which summons up a creature, limbo dancing, contortionists, a girl in a bottle, a woman swinging high in the air by her hair, dancing evil clowns (which give me the chills), a circus bike act, dancing acrobatic skeletons, and an incredible hula hoop display and much more. Phew, what a riveting two-hour show.

CIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie SmithCIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie Smith CIRCUS OF HORRORS 2022 © Melanie Smith

Circus of Horrors is not for the fainthearted, but we all need a few thrills. It’s slick, inventive and packed full of jaw-dropping acts. An incredible rollercoaster of a stage show which is injected with humour and tongue-in-cheek drama. Everyone needs to see it once in their lifetime, just don’t take the kids or your granny.

Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to contact the photographer please email:

You can find Circus of Horrors on their website, with details of the tour – follow them on | Facebook | Twitter.


All words and photos by Melanie Smith – Louder Than War | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Portfolio

Previous articleSHADE: Deaf Institute, Manchester – live review
Next articleALBUM OF THE WEEK! – John Howard: LOOK
Editor: live reviews/books and head of photography. I can't imagine my life without music, photography or books, all connect and have played a big part in my life. I have experienced many musical genres, northern soul in 1975, early punk movement, drifting into the electronic era, a trip around the rock scene, a taste of indie and a smattering of pop. I possess an eclectic taste in music and a lust for life; new experiences are what drive this machine. I still have that punk DIY spirit and used this to create my own website Mudkiss Fanzine in 2008 - 2013. Available for commissioned work, please contact me


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here