Friday, April 21, 2023




Her Majesty’s Secret Circus. 

Performed by Brent and Maya McCoy. Canberra Circus Festival. Chifley Community Oval. McLaurin Cres. Chifley. Presented by Warehouse Circus. April 18-23 Bookings and full festival programme:

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins


I returned with grandsons in tow to see comedy circus duo Brent and Maya McCoy perform their extended show at the Canberra Circus Festival. Billed Her Majesty’s Secret Circus, this spoof show  in which James Bond meets or perhaps collides into Get Smart comes from the USA with the usual circus acts, including juggling seven juggling clubs, Maya juggling knives while on Brent’s shoulders, Brent scoring a plunger arrow to a toilet seat cover while balancing on a seven foot unicycle and spinning a diabolo yo yo on string with feats of amazing dexterity.

The show is also interspersed with audience interaction, climbing over seats while on their secret mission, selecting an innocent audience member to support the act and then co-opting a delightfully precocious seven year old to hand the knives to Maya way up on the unicycle. Wisely, they asked the permission of the young girls’ grandparents.

All of this is performed with elan and a sense of fun that seemed to sweep past in this forty five minute show. Circus is by its very nature a risky business. Imagine a slip of the wrist that could send a knife flying into the wrong place, or a juggling club flying into the astonished face, not to mention the ever present danger of dropping the club. There’s little chance of that except for the intentional heart stopping bungle. Her Majesty’s Secret Circus are much too skilled to put themselves or their audience stooges in danger.

When I asked the grandsons the obligatory question “What was your favourite bit?” they were relatively impartial and came out with the usual response “We liked all of it.” Fair enough. That’s what one would hope.” For forty five minutes they sat there in the front row glued to the action apart from the momentary glance at the shared popcorn to make sure the brothers weren’t getting the bulk of the container. They laughed constantly, keeping silent as Maya drew the bow from the audience and aimed it right at Brent’s toilet seat. A couple of misses and bullseye! She hit the target.

I was disappointed that the firestick juggling that they performed at the Gala Opening was not included in the afternoon show. Apparently it will be included in their open air act, so do get along to see this very funny and skilled duo keep you glued to the stage during a show that certainly accomplished its mission.

Photos by Luke Awtry