AS the owner of a toddler and therefore someone who’s constantly on the lookout for family-friendly activities, I took her to the visiting Circus Wonderland at the Old Common in London Road, hoping for an afternoon of thrills and spills we would both enjoy.

The people behind Circus Wonderland have put together a show for everyone, jam-packed with a variety of performances to keep the audience entertained. The capers of Popol (played by Paul Carpenter, who’s the director of the circus) and Kakehole the Clown reappear throughout the performance, with many other performers popping up too.

These include the fantastic tightrope walker/juggler Angel Bojilov, trapeze artist Alejandro and the intergalactic Duo Stefanelli, who appear from a UFO hanging high up within the big top.

With Popol and Kakehole entertaining the smaller members of the audience, acts like Duo Stefanelli and Bojilov – who manages to walk a tightrope while balancing things on practically every part of his anatomy – are there to wow the parents too.

A special mention must go to Mr Slinky, who kicks of the second half. Try to imagine a being composed of giant, luminous, tie-dyed slinky springs strutting his stuff around the big top to a light-hearted backing track. A superb act that you could imagine featuring on an episode of Britain’s Got Talent (in a good way), Mr Slinky received a big round of applause.

There’s a good amount of audience interaction too, with children invited down to the floor to help Kakehole during a plate-spinning routine.

So how did it go down with my young daughter? She sat transfixed throughout (even laughing in parts, which is rare for her when she's out of her element) and the mix of entertainment helped keep her attention.

All-in-all, priced £9 a head, I would say that Circus Wonderland is great value for two hours of action, especially when compared the price of other entertainment for children, a lot of which fails to interest a very young audience.

Circus Wonderland is in Basingstoke until Easter Monday. Shows take place at 3pm and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday and at 2pm on Easter Monday.

Paul Stamp