ROLL up, roll up, come and see the terrified reporter who is scared of heights, swap her pen and paper for the 40ft Wheel of Death!
Thankfully, the Big Top wasn’t open to the public when I visited Circus Mondao this week ahead of its five-night autumn run.
I was the first journalist brave enough to tackle the circus’s main attraction...The Wheel of Death.
The Mondao Brothers, Vitalie and Petrick are trained gymnasts and have been perfecting their daredevil skills on the wheel for years.
I, on the otherhand, can barely manage a forward roll.
The brothers’ act sees them manoeuvring in and out of the giant metal hamster balls while it rotates, nearly touching the top of the Big Top, which stands 12 metres high.
Ringmistress and animal handler Petra Jackson said Vitalie and Petrick were the only performers in the UK who walked on the outside of the wheel at the same time while it spun at high speed.
I suddenly regretted my decision to give it a try, but before I could say Krusty the Clown I had somehow been helped into a harness and attached into the Wheel of Death, with one brother in the other ball.
As I began to walk forward in the circular cage, like a giant shaking hamster, I was slowly lifted into the air and could almost touch the roof of the 700-seater tent.
But instead of reaching for the sky, I snapped a fingernail on the metal framing through gripping so tightly.
It was terrifying given my fear of heights but once I felt the momentum of the wheel turning, it was exciting, too.
And once I was back on level ground, I immediately wanted to go up again and turn the speed up a notch.
I could see how perfecting these circus skills can become addictive.
So before I became fully immersed in showgirl outfits and juggling I jumped out of the showring and back into the real world.
I had been invited to meet the 22-strong team and its seven horses, two camels and one miniature pony as they arrived at their penultimate destination before they pack up their trapeze and face paints for the winter.
Petra said the team, which is performing at Highgate Stadium in Thurnscoe until Sunday, was one big family and they always enjoy visiting the area.
The travelling family circus is one of only two in the UK that features wild animals like zebras, llamas, camels and reindeer as well as grazing animals like horses, rabbits and even pigeons.
Circus Mondao runs until Sunday, tickets range from £6 to £18, contact the box office on 07722 791777.
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