Show Review from the Birmingham Owl:

13/10/1899 'At the Tower of Varieties, a large and appreciate audience assembled on Monday to sample the bill which Mr. Harry Calver had prepared for the opening of this commodious and handsomely decorated place of entertainment, and needless to say, they found it very greatly to their taste. The matting in the ring was voted a great improvement on the old sawdust, and the perfect lighting of the building and the arrangements generally for the comfort of visitors, were highly praised. The artistes include the Leglere Troupe of acrobats, whose performance was distinctly good; Cliff Berzac and his boxing pony; and the Brothers Clarke, barebacked riders, whose daring feats are loudly applauded. Little Valdo's comicalities are much relished, Chiyokichi is a slack rope walker of great skill, The Escaladors ladder balancing is loudly applauded, and Atlas and Vulcana perform many astonishing feats of strength. The Martinettes, Willie Richards, The Mayos, and Edgar and Eugene, banjoists, also appear, and it is already evident that the management mean to spare no pains to make the Tower one of the most popular houses of entertainment in the city. '

Grand Opening Night of the Tower of Varieties & Circus

  • Opening Night: 09 October 1899
  • Performance: 14 October 1899
  • Genre: Variety

1. Overture – ‘Masaniello’ – Auber
2. Alfred Clark – Juggling Act
3. Martinettes – ‘The Music Master’
4. Valdo, Entree
5. Yesokichi – Perpendicular Rope
6. Atlas and Vulcana – Modern Athletes
7. George Leglere Troupe – Acrobats
8. Cliffe Berzac – Wrestling and Boxing Pony, also his Wonderful Leaping Boarhound ‘Pasha’
9. Bros. Leonard – Horizontal Bar
10. Edgar and Eugene – Banjoists
11. John Frederick Clark – Somersault Act
12. Celest – The Wire King
13. Escaladors (3) – Double Ladder Balancers
14. Bros. Noel – Entree
15. The Zoes – Flying Trapeze
16. Bros. Clarke – Double Jockey Act
17. Madlle. Tamamoto – Sword Walker
18. The Mayos – Funny Skaters
19. Willie Richards, alias ‘Rabbit’, will make himself generally useful during this evening
20. God Save the Queen

  • Duration: 3 Hours (to the minute)
  • Number of Acts: 18
  • Number of Performances: 6
  • Performance Times: Doors open at 19:00; Show commenced at 19:30; Carriages could be ordered for 22:20
  • Circus: Jugglers; Perpendicular Rope; Horizontal Bar; Somersault Act; Wire King; Double Ladder Balancers; Flying Trapeze; Sword Walker; Funny Skaters
  • Notes: Programme states 'The electric light is introduced in a novel and effective manner.' Opened to a full house 06/10/1899 The Owl - The very handsome building in Hurst Street which has recently been erected by the Brothers Draysey, and which is to be known as the Tower of Varieties, and opens next week as a circus, is a very elaborately decorated place of amusement, and visitors will be surprised at the ingenuity displayed by the architects in making the most of the space at their disposal. The entrance from Hurst Street to the circus is by a long and handsomely decorated corridor running under the assembly room at the back to which the circus is situated. There is seating accommodation provided for 1,900 persons, and the better class of seats in the auditorium are handsomely upholstered. The gallery runs round three sides of the building which is lofty and well lighted, and the corridors leading to various parts of the house are handsomely furnished. The ring is on the small side, and a special feature of it is that there will be no sawdust, a boarded floor, and a special make of matting, doing away with the discomfort occasioned to the audience when horses throw up their heels in rings made in the old fashion. That the present style is quite as comfortable for the performers, when demonstrated in the writer's presence by Professor (____?) whose somersaults in the ring were hardly applauded by the workmen in the building as much as they deserved. The building will be opened on Monday next with specially selected company of stars, and with Mr. Calver as manager, the patrons of the Tower of Varieties can depend on having their comfort studied in every way and their tastes catered for in the most liberal manner."