PREVIEW – Circus of Horrors, Sunderland Empire, January 21

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GHOULS, girls, guys and devil dolls will gather at the Sunderland Empire for a night of fiendishly good fun.

Seventeen years after its conception at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival, The Circus of Horrors has gone on to tour the world, achieving cult status and dragging circus screaming and shouting into the 21st century.

The new sensation, which stormed into the finals of Britain’s Got Talent, is packed with new shocks that will transport you to Berlin in 1927, a decedent time which gave birth to cabaret and the The Devil Doll.

The new phantasmagoria is a sequel to last year’s show The Ventriloquist and was named The Curse of the Devil Doll after a series of bizarre and near fatal incidents happened during the last tour.

Dr Haze, creator of The Circus of Horrors, said: “It all started when vehicles that carried the doll inexplicably started blowing up, but a week into the tour and things took a definite turn for the worse.

“The show was appearing in Bradford and during a sequence where the doll appeared to be brought to life with the aid of a tesla coil, sword swallower Hannibal Hellmurto swallowed a lit neon tube.

“Swallowing of a neon tube is regarded as the most dangerous of all sword swallowing stunts: it can shatter and send glass, mercury and electricity into your body.

“Thankfully none of these did happen, but a dry throat did cause the tube to rip a 20mm hole in his oesophagus. He was rushed to hospital and kept in intensive care for four weeks then a further two weeks in a general ward.

“During this period more vehicles were inexplicably breaking down. Each time it was always the vehicle carrying the doll.”

Unperturbed, though, instead of burning the doll it was decided to write a sequel.

l For tickets, priced £13-£26. Tel. 0844 871 3022.