November 27th, 2009

Loon

CIRCUS!

So, we went to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus today. If you follow the circus at all you'll know that they have 3-4 shows in rotation at any time, and we saw their Zing Zang Zoom show which is currently at the United Center. I don't know why, but this one didn't seem to hang together as well as others we've seen recently. I think part of the problem was that we were way up in the "nosebleed seats" and at least one of the featured bits (where two characters were up in the rigging doing a whole upside down skit) we couldn't even see, a problem with the "effect" of some of the other aerialist things as well (a lot of this stuff works better if you're looking up at it rather than down).

The theme of this one was sort of "magic" and the guy running the show would occasionally make something appear or disappear (the elephant that disappeared was the most impressive ... still don't have an idea how they managed that), with the title phrase being the "magic words". There was also a "conflict" with a "Mr. Gravity" and his "heavies" ... but the "story arc" didn't much hang together (from an adult's perspective, at least ... I'm sure it worked fine for the 6-year-olds) ... the other "big magic trick" was when they turned "Mr. Gravity" into a tiger when in a glass cage.

They had a bunch of Elephants and Tigers (oddly, 11 of each) and those were, perhaps the most engaging part of the show. As opposed to some of the other relatively recent Ringling shows we've seen, there was no "motorsports" involved, and no video screen (which, frankly, was missed, as it does help get a "personalized" version of the ringmaster when you can actually see what he's doing!), so in some ways this had a more "classic" circus feel to it, with the animals lending the "wow" factor. They also had a HUGE double cannon, which shot two gals across the arena. They had previously shot one gal and then "couldn't find her" until she showed up in the light rigging ... again, we were looking down on this, so it lacked a bit of the "excitement" which was no doubt intended with the bit's choreography.

         

However, it was fun, and I think The Girls had a good time. It's certainly easy enough getting down there (it's an el and a bus), so it's not a "major undertaking" to see it when it's at the United Center.


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