Tag Archives: Greatest Show On Earth

U.K. Planning To Ban All Wild Animal Acts From Their (Travelling) Circuses.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access BBC coverage.


Click to access my post.


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Kind of inevitable, I guess — and by ‘travelling circuses’ they mean any circus that is not performed, long-duration, in a permanent location.

Well, we have all seen what happened to the elephants with the ‘Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Brothers‘ “Greatest Show on Earth“. But, they continued to have a big cat act that distressed me greatly. I would close my eyes for the duration. I just can’t act.

But, I am, as some of you might know, strange about elephant acts! They do not bother me. Maybe it is because I grew up with elephants among us. Even had some mega-rich friends that kept elephants as pets. As long as they are well treated, elephants are like golden retrievers — just bigger and not gold. They like to please — provided you take care of them. We used to have the BEST elephant shows in Ceylon when I was growing up. So, I and elephant acts. We have a history, a context and yes, ambivalence.

But, I can buy ALL wild animal acts.

This would, however, permit dogs, horses, donkeys and I assume goats. That is OK. Dog acts do nothing for I. But, I know some folks adore them.

So, this is the state of play in the UK when it comes to circuses.


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by Anura Guruge

‘Cirque Dreams Holidaze’, SNHU Arena, Manchester, NH– December 12, 2018.

by Anura Guruge


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Attribution WILL be enforced.









It was ‘OK’. Definitely ‘OK’.

Not great; definitely not even close to the ‘Greatest Show On Earth‘ — but it had its moments and acts.

At least two acts that were world-class and memorable: an amazing jump-rope performance and a delightful ‘quick change’ skit.

A few other decent acts: hula-hoops, trapeze, juggling and a balancing act.

Lot of loud Christmas music and bonhomie. It was like a very loud Nutcracker with acrobatic acts thrown in. But, they tried and it was very colorful and fast moving. Best geared for YOUNGER kids (10 and under) who haven’t been to too many circuses.

What they could do was limited. Fairly small stage. 80% of the acts literally revolved around this one hanging rope that could pull performers off the stage.

In reality it was just but one notch above the ALL-AMATEUR ‘Circus Smirkus‘ we had seen in Wolfeboro in August.

I will caution you about going to see this. It is expensive for what it was. We paid ~$65 each. Not sure it was worth that. We used to see ‘Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey‘, at that very same arena, in better seats for less and there is NO comparison between the two.

Really check it out before you get the tickets. Best for younger kids who have never been to a circus and already excited about Christmas.


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by Anura Guruge

‘Circus Smirkus’, Wolfeboro, NH (August 12, 2018) — More Pictures From This V. Good Show.

by Anura Guruge


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I raved about ‘Circus Smirkus’ performance in Wolfeboro yesterday. So, I am not going to say much here because there really isn’t more I can say than: “please, go and see for yourself. You will be impressed & amazed“. This post is to share MORE pictures. However, the more I think about it and the more time I spend going back over the pictures the more impressed I am. It was quite the show — done entirely by kids. Not wizened professionals, kids who were going to school, full-time just a couple of months ago. I am sold.


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by Anura Guruge

‘Circus Smirkus’, Wolfeboro, NH (August 12, 2018) — IMPRESSIVE, Worth Seeing!

by Anura Guruge


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This was not our accustomed Barnum & BaileyGreatest Show On Earth“, but it was a show and it was impressive and in the end humbling.

The tightrope in high heels was world class! Folks familiar with this blog know that we go to a LOT of circuses and have been doing it for years (and in my case most of my life). I have never seen this and that alone was worth going. Second big picture at the top. ENLARGE and look at it. That was special.

It was NOT bad at all. Actually, very impressive.

ALL KIDS ages 10 to 18. That alone makes it special. Then, right at the end the Ringmaster (who was very good) shared a nugget of information that blew us all away. The kids ONLY had 18-days, yes, 18-days, to put this whole repertoire together. That is mind-blowing. You know that circus acts work for years to get it all together. These kids pulled this off, with aplomb & panache, in 18-days. WOW. Bravo. They, of course, got a standing ovation.

Not what we are used to as veteran, annual attendees of Barnum & Bailey, but by the end we were enjoying this as much.

Yes, of course, I recommend it. Tad pricey for families. Cost nearly as much as I used to pay to see Barnum & Bailey in Manchester (but much of that is because I knew where the outstanding cheap seats were after we had been to the first few shows).

I took a LOT of pictures. It is too late to try and post them all tonight. I will work on them in the days to come.

P.S., They are in Wolfeboro, on Monday, August 13, 2018 too; 1 & 6pm. So try and catch it if you can.


Click image to access their Website.


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by Anura Guruge

Ringling Brothers ‘Fully Charged’ Circus At The Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
  by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
Elephants In Manchester, NH: There Are Here And The Next ParadeSept. 27, 2012.
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH: THE Stop Press UPDATE Wednesday (Sept. 26)Sept. 26, 2012.
The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NHSept. 24, 2012.

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.

The Good

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.


The Bad

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?


The Ugly

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.