Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

Sideshow is a cross between circus, burlesque and cabaret, and it succesfully sets you on edge. There’s no chance of falling asleep in this politically incorrect show or, if you’re sensitive, even after it.

Ringmaster - MC Benjamin Louche, uses wit and song to capture his audience and introduce the weird and wonderful, including Dr George Ryegold who makes toilet humour sound intellectual. Award-winning Kiki Kaboom should change her name to Kinky. For her burlesque style fits that description.

On the other hand, Damien S. Fear is named correctly. You shiver in your boots watching him lift a bucket attached to safety pins embedded in his elbow, or run a blow torch over his tongue.When Piff, the Magic Dragon, a raucously funny example of slight of hand, appears, it is almost a relief.

Then comes the sound of Sinatra except it isn’t him, its Frank Sinazi portraying old blue eyes as Hitler singing Third Reich to the tune "That’s Life." Mat Ricardo makes three ball juggling look difficult as he simultaneously removes his jacket but, with a constant stream of patter, progresses to pulling a cloth off a set table and putting it back on again.

Most of the acts use kidology to fox us. But it’s done so well that it is show business at its best.

- Julia Taylor