'Superglueman' comes unstuck: Alex Renton finds that a circus performer's adhesive trick has come under attack

UHU, the glue manufacturer, has formally asked a circus visiting Britain not to abuse its superglue.

Superglueman, who performs with the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, likes to glue bowling balls to his body and glue his hands together. The audience is then invited to pull the stuck-together bits apart.

These feats should not, of course, be tried in your own home. Nevertheless, a five-year-old child went to see the circus in Nantes, western France, last month and found Superglueman inspirational. He used superglue to stick a toy to his arm, with predictable results.

Jane Clancey, marketing manager of UHU, has written to the Circus asking that it make it clear that UHU does not endorse the Superglueman act and that it does not mislead the public into believing 'this is a safe use of the product'.

The circus suggested UHU's concern was to dissociate itself from the act's finale, in which Superglueman is glued to a crucifix, but eventually falls off. A spokesman said: 'We think they don't like the suggestion that their glue isn't as strong as it's cracked up to be.'

The US-based circus is sure to pick up more complaints on its month-long tour. The publicity promises an old-fashioned 'carnival art-form: a show which both repels and enthrals, but celebrates a hidden part of our humanity with a corrosive and ennobling honesty'.

That ennobling honesty is well- illustrated by an act called 'The Tube', where one Matt Crowley inserts a tube via his nose into his stomach and then pours in a mixture of beer, chocolate syrup, ketchup and an indigestion remedy.

Members of the audience are then invited to drink this 'bile- beer' via the tube from Mr Crowley's stomach - an act they have been surprisingly willing to perform in the US and on the Continent. However, 'The Tube' is under review, after protests from local health authorities.

Other acts include Mr Lifto, who lifts a steam-iron off the ground using a metal ring piercing his penis. 'Torture King' is a gentleman who pierces himself with needles and skewers in 40 different places. On average, 10 people faint during the show each evening.

Mr Rose attributes the success of his show to 'human curiosity'. 'They're curious about the human body? Why are they curious? They live in one.' Mr Rose's chief role is as master of ceremonies, but he is an active performer: he opens the show by hammering a nail and then a screwdriver up his nose.

(Photograph omitted)