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Send in the clowns? Don't bother, they'd freak out

Circus of Horrors, Belgrade Theatre, January 15 only

There's beauty as well as acrobatic mayhem in the travelling Circus of Horrors, which hits Coventry's Belgrade Theatre for one heart-stopping night only on January 15.

Fire-eating Anastasia Sawicka admits you have to look for the perfection behind some of the acts, like the contortionists from Tanzania, the Russians who appear to chop their own legs off and even the German sword swallower who admits he was a tax inspector before running away to join their circus.

When not quenching the flames on her fingertips, Anastasia herself hangs from a wire by her pink-tinted hair...."it's only a little painful"....and when the audience gets tired of gasping she adds extra weight by getting one of the contortionists to lie across her feet.

Her husband Hannibal is also handy with the swords and looks terrifying with his metal eye-patch finished off with a sharp spike.

"I've been in this circus since I was 18," says Anastasia, looking none the worse for all the death-defying stunts that carried this crazy lot into the finals of Britain's Got Talent a few years ago.

She is now 32 and proud of their cross-bow firing, weight-lifting, trapeze flying freak show - her words not mine - which indeed does appear to have its own beastly form of beauty...for all with stomachs strong enough to enjoy this far from everyday form of entertainment.

Definitely not one for the children.