by Anura Guruge
This was our 3rd circus this year, we saw 2 Cirque du Soleil performances, one in Las Vegas (April) and the other at the Verizon Arena in Manchester (May).
This is the 6th Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey circus we have seen in Manchester, going ever year, without fail, starting in 2007.
We went to the 4pm performance on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 — we always go to the last show, to catch the elephant parade afterwards (but to no avail this year).
Deanna took all these pictures.
Click the photographs to ENLARGE them and see them full size.
The BEST act of the show, the Totally Wired high-wire act. Thank you.
1/ The High-Voltage high-wire act. They did a few breathtaking stunts. Easily the most captivating in what was not greatest of shows. We have seen as good, if not better, but that was not today. So take a bow. You did great. Made my day.
2/ The human, on-fire, Crossbow Dart, The Human Fuse human cannonball variant was new, fun and creative. It was good. Could watch it again. Assume it is on the show DVD we bought for $10, a decent, reasonable price.
3/ The Indian/Sri Lankan elephants. They only had 5 but they were awfully cute and cuddly. Well fed, a couple maybe a tad too heavy. But they looked well, well cared for. Immaculately behaved. They did good. They were not forced to do anything too strenuous or unbecoming. Kind of tame, but I am all for that. If you want to see impressive elephant shows you have to go to Sri Lanka or Thailand. I will write a post about the animals and the circus, but I really do not see any signs of mistreatment of these elephants, and while I am no longer as au fait with elephants as I used to be, they look fine to my still critical eyes.
4/ The Pump Up Energy spring loaded stilt walkers in their neon costumes. Cute and magical beyond words. Bravo. I am getting myself a pair of these!
5/ Aerial Fair high fliers. We have seen similar; Cirque does this better. But these folks were good. They made me happy. Thank you.
6/ Kinetic Energy jugglers. Nothing spectacular. We have seen better, but it was a solid, pleasing performance.
7/ High Energy Fernandez Brothers in their twin turbines of steel. We have seen them before and the Cirque equivalent. These two do a honest, solid show. I like it. To me it is always a crowd pleaser.
8/ High Vaultage acrobatic team. Decent, run-of-the-mill acrobatics, but pleasingly done. Deanna was impressed that the leading lady could do all her vaults while wearing a long skirt. Definitely seen better, but these folks were OK. I applauded.
9/ All the fancy bikes. Very creative. Very original though I didn’t like the ornamental fake wheels. But, all in all a nice touch. I would definitely ride one of those.
10/ Opening and closing everybody on deck acts. These were fun. The opening act ended in a magical scene when they started juggling about 400 illuminated juggling pins in a totally dark arena. That was great. Bravo. Thank you.
11/ I thought the merchandise prices were acceptable! The program was $8 and the DVD was $10. I think the program used to be $15 and the DVD $20. I knew I hadn’t paid much for the seats. I had thought I had paid in the $22 range, which has been the norm in the past. I looked today. I had paid $17 per ticket. That, to me makes this a bargain. Thank you Ringling Bros.
1/ The Ring Master. You hardly knew he was there. The one with least presence we have seen. Yes, I think he is new and that this might have been his first real outing. He will have to learn fast. He also didn’t have the more elaborate locomotion his predecessors enjoyed. I feel bad for him. He really was a ‘no-op’ as far as the show was concerned and he is supposed to be a star.
2/ The horse and pony show. Lame and tame. What is the point. Horses prancing around a small ring is very, very old hat. There was no fancy riding. No acrobatics on the backs of prancing horses. You could see better at any ol’ NH horse farm. This was not good.
3/ The clowns were tepid, and like the Ring Master lacked pizazz. That they made fun of all the acts that went before them, using miniature props imitating the originals, was cute but lacked fire. They need to go back to clown school.
4/ Stage set and props. This was by far the most spare and sparse set we have seen at Manchester. They didn’t even have their traditional, huge ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ circle logo! Maybe they knew that this show did not meet that billing. No large screen TVs. Very bare. Deanna noticed it right away, and complained.
5/ Pre-Show was ultra low-key and toned down. No FREE red clowns noses. It was still OK for the kids and most were mesmerized at some point. But, compared to previous years it was palpably low key. We were on the floor by 3:20 pm. We didn’t see any TALL stilt walkers or animals. Deanna was again bummed. She likes walking under the legs of the stilt walkers! Yes, that could be Freudian. They did have at least one tall stilt walker. Last year they had three, methinks because I did chat with a couple of them.
6/ No elephant parade! Please read these comments on the original, very popular, elephant parade post. I am sure this has to do with the animal cruelty protests. The police might feel that it is too volatile and to be fair to them they would be totally ill equipped to handle bolting elephants. So maybe it is for the best. I noticed that WMUR did not cover this year’s circus at all, at all! Very strange.
7/ Though the show is billed ‘Fully Charged‘ this is by far the LOWEST energy Ringling Bros. circus we have seen! Coincidence, or were they hoping that the name will compensate for the lack of whiz-bam-wallop?
1/ The Strong Man acts were flaccid, pathetic, I could have done better! I think he was a stand-in since he is not the one featured in the program. The program shows two fat brothers. This was a fat, not-that-strong guy that looked Chinese. His first act with fake poles, made to look like Scottish cabers, was poor. Pathetic. You could see that they weighed nothing. Then he came back in the second half for another act. All he did was lift a small girl around. I booed. I booed twice. I am sure I have never booed a performer before, since I tend to be quite generous in my appreciation of all performers (having been a stand-up comedian most of my professional life). But, this was beyond the pale. I am sure he was not the proper act. But it was UGLY.
2/ The Tiger Show. I am sorry but this act has to go. There is no place for it in a circus. This act really degraded these majestic animals. They were repeatedly humiliated. They were prodded and provoked. It was ugly. It made me very uneasy. Yes, kids and adults should get a chance to see tigers. I love tigers. I have even touched one. But, this act is cruel. Let them just be brought into a large enclosed ring. Let them just walk or lie around. Washington D.C.’s free National Zoo has a marvelous tiger enclosure. We saw tigers diving into the water for meat. Let them do their own thing. This act has to end. Period.