Ever since I was a little kid I have been attending the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Baily circus with either my parents or aunt and Uncle. For the past few years now my wife, sis-in-law and I have been taking our nephew who is now 13 to see it. This year is the last year as Ringling Bros. management has announced they are shutting down for good due to failing ticket sales and reports of mistreatment of their animals. We saw it at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J and it was a sold out performance.
This year’s show was the best I’ve ever seen and should be for their final swan song. It has an outer space sci-fi theme which lends itself to brightly colored costumes, dazzling special effects galore and nonstop pulse beating action. As soon as one act is ending the next is starting and the music is fast and pulsating.
The Intergalactic Circus Queen, Queen Tatiana, a legendary horseback rider and acrobat is driven by desire to outshine the Greatest Show on earth and plots to banish the circus stars on earth and banish them away to far away planets.
The circus opened with a balancing act with acrobats dressed as astronauts in white suits, back pack and black visor. They moved slowly like they were without gravity and walked atop the giant oval shaped wheel that turned and did balancing acts with a bicycle and sitting on top of one another’s shoulders while the wheel turned. As they did this, large covered balls hanging from the ceilings moved up and down finally their covers dropped revealing sexy women inside twirling around with colored lights lit around them. Very impressive and beautiful.
There were various clown acts that were supposed to be the Queen’s servants and captured acts. The ringmaster was from earth and was in charge of getting the acts back which he does. He is the same ringmaster they’ve had for the past several years now. They had lions and tigers, horseback riding acts, a cute dog act, and my favorite “Globe of death” where eight motorcycle riders all ride around the globe upside down and around the sides at lightning speed without bumping into each other. They also had a basketball game featuring black players on unicycles playing against each other and passing the ball between them and dunking it in the baskets. As soon as one fell off they got right back on again no problem. It was like the Harlem Globe Trotters on unicycles.
I marveled at the spectacular crew they had that would set up for one act while the other was distracting you. I was so entranced by the cute dog act that I failed to see a whole cage being set up with a runner for the lions and tigers to go into the cage with. They also had skaters on a special floor covering they put down who also did tumbling acts while they skated.
The whole show was two hours of non-stop action with a fifteen minute break. It was a grand finale of a show and a great send off to remember them by. The Prudential Center was sold out so maybe if ticket sales increase they may come back. Until then it was a fond farewell for the Greatest Show on Earth.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus – Wikipedia you can read their whole history here including their accusations of cruelty to animals.