by Anura Guruge
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All the pictures taken by Deanna with her Olympus Stylus SZ-16
YouTube video of the entire elephant act.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, at the Verizon, in Manchester, NH, in October, for the Sunday evening performance is yet another of our annul events, along with Christmas Revels, the Highland Games at Loon, Laconia Multicultural Day. We have been doing it, without fail, since 2007. So we know this show quite well.
Last year we had a lot of issues with the bunny eating python and cigarettes being sold. We made such a fuss about this that we ended up with (good) complimentary seats for this year’s circus. Thank YOU, Feld Entertainment (they being who put on the circus and as such provided the tickets).
I am going to try and keep this short and do so by using pithy bullet points.
>> It was good. I am a sucker for circuses and enjoy them all. Kids, and not just Tesichan, were whooping and cheering and that to me is what a circus should do. So on that score alone ‘Legends’ was OK.
>> It was, by far, the least spectacular circus we have seen from Ringling & Barnum! It was a low-key affair and you got the distinct impression that it was a low-budget production. Plus, looking through the ($15) souvenir program (which we always get because Teischan will look at it for years) it would appear that they cut out two big acts from this performance — motorcycle high-wire act (which we have seen a number of times, but still enjoy) and the ‘hairialist’ — hanging from their hair act (though there was a variant of this last year). To be fair to Feld, Manchester also did not live up to its side of the deal. The arena was less than half full. The emptiest we have seen it. I talked to an usher. Appears that attendance was down at all the performances. They are blaming the Deerfield Fair which was on the same weekend.
>> This show lacked any big apparatus spectaculars. There were no huge canons, giant rotating wheels or elaborate sets. It was mainly animals and different Chinese acrobatic events.
>> More animals than I have ever seen. They even had two pigs and two kangaroos! The pigs, though real pokers, were cut though they made me hungry! Yes, given my penchant for pork, big pigs get the digestive juices flowing. The kangaroos were pathetic and unbecoming of this outfit.
>> It would appear the the circus is pushing back on the animal activists and trying to make a point. We got quite a few lectures about how well they look after the elephants. That I am kind of willing to believe. They had 6 elephants and I studied them carefully. Only one, albeit the youngest (at 14), looked off-key. The others seemed in great condition. As I have said before I do not have a problem with elephants performing. They are like dogs. Once domesticated they like to please and they are not made to do anything unnatural and degrading.
>> We all hate the big cat act. That has to go. That is really quite vile. And then the ‘cat guy’ paraded around with a scrawny leopard that looked scared. That made me very uneasy.
>> Deanna and the kids love the dog act but I would be happy if that was scrapped. A dog jumping from a basket attached to a 20′ pole does not make me happy.
>> There were memorable acts, mainly by the various Chinese troupes: the diabolo (two-sided top spun with a rope) act was special, as was the pole ‘dancing’ and bicycle acts. The tumbling acts were professional though nothing that remarkable by today’s standards.
>> The motorcycle rides in their ‘cage of death’ and the trapeze act is a perennial. We seem to see them every year.
>> The clown acts were toned down and there was nothing objectionable.
>> For the first time they did not have ‘Preferred Seating’ audience members coming on stage to be driven around. That was nice and Deanna noticed their absence at once.
>> In many ways it was an old-fashioned circus. Less apparatus, no real whiz-bang acts and just fairly routine animal and acrobatic acts.
It was OK. We will go next year too. That could be the last year for the elephants.
Another video. This one a photo-montage.