You don’t need a Big Top to enjoy the thrill of the circus, especially when it is the world acclaimed Moscow State Circus with their latest show – Legenda.

There isn’t a ringmaster but there is Andre Voronin as the slightly menacing visionary and Grigory Rasputin who recounts his dreams in circus acts. You sometimes think you must be dreaming yourself when you gasp at the hair-raising acts put on with apparent ease by death defying artistes.  

How does Anton Popazov find the courage to stand still whilst his wife, Nataliya, pulverises an apple on his head with the arrows from seven crossbows fired at him simultaneously? I didn’t even have the nerve to look without covering my eyes with my fingers so might not have counted properly!

There's more - Alexander Doktorov and Yulia Tsurikova’s human statues balance in contorted positions without moving for what seems an age and other performers depend on movement for their success. Take Grigory’s Girls who float gently in the air on silks. You can scarcely keep up with the aptly-named Whirlwind quartet who keep 16 clubs flying through the air.

The children on the night I attended loved the award-winning husband and wife clowns, Valik and Valerik whose comedy is the result of twelve years’ hard work.

The cast  make it look so easy but we know that one slip can cause injury and even death. And it is that fear which makes  circus what it is. This one is well worth jumping through hoops to see.

- Julia Taylor

(Reviewed at The Lowry, Salford)