A Note: Last year I stated on this blog that were I to review any circuses in ‘09 that I had seen in ‘08 and given less than three stars to, unless my ‘09 rating would be higher by at least ½ star, I would not review. Sorry to say, I have seen Carson & Barnes and I can’t give it a higher mark than I gave it in '08. So, since I have received interesting feedback on the show from two different sources, I am posting them. The first came in an e-mail, the second, a comment in reaction to my '08 review of the show.
From Dave Wolowic, Oxnard, California:
The last Monday, my wife and I drove out to Oxnard to see the last show of Carson & Barnes. There was a lot to like about the circus. And some not to like. We loved the aerial acts. The two woman who do the first act are amazing and use no safety lines. It was very thrilling. The trapeze act was great. Much better than what we saw at Circus Vargas. Of course the sound system was a bit lacking and I could not understand the names of the performer. The lead flyer did an amazing dismount by swinging so high he grabbed onto the roof of the tent, and then dropped to the net. So much fun. I know your disdain for hula hoop acts, but I thought this one was really well done. The costumes throughout the show were clean and new. The clowns were OK. Alex, the world-renowned king of Comedy had a very funny trampoline act, but it could have used a little more time of him on the tramp and less shtick around it. Although we had seen the elephants before the show and at intermission, it was really impressive when the came running into the tent for their act. My biggest disappointment was the dog act. As an act, it was mediocre. But what made it worse was the dogs looked so dirty and mangy and in need of a good meal. It really took away from the act. I wrote Carson & Barnes and told them if I were a PETA person I would come after them for the dogs and not the elephants. The other odd thing which happened was during the trapeze act, they started undoing the tent from the center poles! Suddenly I see some guys head sticking out through the roof! Bad show. I realize it was the last show of the run, but they could have at least waited until the trapeze act was over, when everyone wasn't looking at the roof of the tent. We also thought that the performers weren't very enthusiastic when they had to partake in the circus parades.
We had a fun time but I think I Circus Vargas had a better "look". It seemed that everyone on the midway and ushers all had some kind of uniform. Carson & Barnes was a little more ragged around the edges. Still the show had between 500 to 600 people, and I think most of them left having had a good time.
[Dave has since e-mailed me that he e-mailed his displeasure over the dog act and the tent dismantling activities to C&B, and was impressed to hear back from them within 24 hours, pledging to address his concerns)
From Marcus Bethea in the San Diego area:
I was very disappointed in this show. This was the first time since I was little to see this show. My kids loved it. My wife and I hated it. I just came on to this site to see what other people reviewed on this circus act. I watched it in san diego, and it was as you described it [in my ‘08 review]. Many people left at intermission. Every thing is very expensive, and not worth the money paid. I spent over $200 dollars for cold pop corn, a little bag of peanuts one ride on a camel in one little circle. same on a elephant and supposed VIP seating in plastic patio chairs. I was very disappointed. But it was for my kids. But I will never do that again. I was thinking Ringling Bros or Barnum Bailey would be better but now I am scared of any kind of circus