Circus Wonderland is coming to Peacehaven

The Popoline Clowns
The Popoline Clowns

A PAIR of clowns who ran away to join different circuses before forming an act are looking forward to bringing their own new circus to Peacehaven.

Circus Wonderland, one of the UK’s newest circuses, will be in town for two weeks and no one is more excited than its directors.

Paul Carpenter and Kriss Freear are better known in Peacehaven as clowns Kakehole and Popol, having appeared regularly as part of John Lawson’s Circus.

This year, however, their oversized clown boots have taken the big step in launching their own show, at The Dell from July 24 to August 5.

The duo always dreamed of owning their show, but they are finding the romance is very different from the reality of life on the road.

Rising costs, problems with bad weather and competition from other events are threatening to wipe the painted smiles from their faces.

For the last ten years Paul has appeared as Popol, the UK’s last remaining traditional whiteface clown.

The whiteface is the elegant, sophisticated foil to the mischief and chaos caused by Kakehole, the typical ‘auguste’ clown with his red nose and big boots.

Together they have toured the UK with various circuses and twice been named ‘Best Circus Comedy Act’ in the annual circus awards.

Now they are facing their biggest challenge as Circus Wonderland takes to the road.

“We knew it would be a risk to start a new show in the current financial climate,” said Paul.

“People do not seem to have much spare cash and they are always looking for special offers and bargains, but of course we have to charge a certain amount as our running costs are enormous.”

Months of rain have also caused problems with grounds being waterlogged, trucks getting bogged down and gale force winds threatening the new Big Top.

“Dealing with the weather is a part of the job,” said Paul.

“We are used to dealing with gales and mud but there has been no let-up in the wet weather and some of our grounds are being cancelled because they are too wet to drive on to.”

Now the pair are hoping the sun will shine on their visit to Peacehaven, although they are concerned attendances might be affected by coverage of the Olympics.

“Our biggest problems used to be aiming a custard pie in the right direction or not losing our rubber chicken,” said Kriss.

“Now we are worrying about paying the wages, losing our ground deposits with the mud and generally how to get people in through the door.”

Although they are kept busy behind the scenes, they still enjoy appearing in the spotlight with routines including lots of music, magic and mayhem.

“We believe a good clown act should be like a cartoon come to life,” said Kriss.

“In one of our acts I become hugely inflated after eating too much and have to be put through the magical ‘Slim-o-matic’ machine, and another features lots of whacky musical instruments and an exploding grand piano.”

The circus also has a host of international circus acts including acrobats, trapeze artistes, puppets and Britain’s Got Talent star Denis Remnev, who flies up and down out of a bath of water.

Performance times are 3pm and 7pm daily, except for the last day which is 3pm only. Tickets cost £9, or £7 on the first day. Contact the box office on 07531 612240.