In many ways, Jamie Adkins' solo act in Circus Incognitus could have been plucked from the screen of an early black-and-white silent movie. The stars of that bygone era - Chaplin, Keaton, et al - are clearly large influences, both in the physical, slapstick humour and his sweet-natured, coy stage persona.
Keeping with that tradition, Adkins only uses a few essential props and speaks barely any words. At his most loquacious, when instructing audience-members how to throw oranges to him so that he can spear them with a fork held in his mouth, he quietly mouths a few monosyllables, relying on mime, movement, and boyish facial expressions to connect with his audience.
As the title suggests, Circus Incognitus shows off Adkins' impressive array of circus skills from juggling to clowning around on a loose rope. Many parts of his act are familiar, the kind of thing that you might find on the High Street - juggling balls with his mouth or rolling a hat along his body. What sets Adkins' show aside from the average busking act, is both the sheer range of his skills and his cheeky, unostentatiousness inventiveness. Whether it be chasing a piece of paper balanced on his nose or trying to climb into a large cardboard box while swinging precariously back and forth on top of a wooden chair, he brings a gleeful enthusiasm to his performance.
Towards the end of the hour I felt that, for all its skill, the show began to lose a little of its considerable momentum (and my six-year-old was getting restless). I wondered if the show would benefit from having more of a narrative, a story to pull it together rather than its bag-of-tricks approach.
However, this thought didn't linger, as Adkins brought on his step ladder for "Le Grand Finale" his clever, signature sequence involving a ladder that doesn't stay together and the loose rope that he walks, slides, and tumbles on. It was hand-over-the-mouth stuff that drew gasps of amazement and delight from the audience.
Runs til 24 August (not 18)
£12 - £14, (£10 - £12)