The big top is in town for the first time in more than 18 months after Continental Circus Berlin pitched up at Westcott Recreation Ground. 

Families will be able to to enjoy death-defying stunts, laugh-a-minute entertainment and incredible circus acts from the world’s best performers until Sunday. 

On its return after the pandemic, the circus has had to make a number of changes to how it operates to keep everyone safe. 

“It’s the first circus in Swindon in two years, it’s great to be back and live in the big top with people gasping and being thrilled,”said the circus’ general manager David Fitzgerald. 

“But our number one is public safety, we want your family, or your social bubble to feel safe and comfortable.”

The Adver went down on Thursday evening to enjoy the show and there are several social-distancing measures in place, from staff wearing masks to socially-distanced audience seating. 

The show itself combined the glitz and glamour of classic showbusiness with jaw-dropping danger perfectly – from an aerial act involving circus ribbons to eye-wincing Rolo balancing on top of a motorbike. And that's not to mention the Globe of Death that saw motorcyclists spinning around in an extremely confined space to end the first act. 

The second act had a giant spinning wheel that was so fraught with peril it hushed the audience, a lively and energetic strongman trio, bounce juggling and the literal highlight of the show, a stupendously impressive high wire act.

Clowns Angelo and Eddy and a great trio of Vegas-style dancers were also on hand to keep the entertainment going while the next hair-raising spectacle is set up.

When you consider the performers have been unable to perform and even train during the pandemic, their extraordinary feats are even more impressive

“My first week back I was nervous,” said high wire performer Mohamed Azzouz, who was unable to train for five months

“We get scared every time, all humans get scared. But now we’re back and it’s practise to overcome that fear, and it’s perfect.”

Bounce juggler Ania Bellei was also thrilled to be performing again, saying: “It’s really exciting to be back. This is like the first time again, every day at the moment is really.”

David candidly said that the pandemic hit the circus hard and he wasn’t sure if they would be able to keep going, but thankfully they are here in Swindon ready to keep us all on the edge of our seats.