Saturday, August 31, 2013

Built to be Ignored? Ringling's Built to Amaze Apparently Did Not Take the Critics


Should we blame it on those fast disappearing newspapers?

Not quite, for many of them are moving over to Website Boulevard, still reporting, still reviewing.  Well, sometimes.

After posting  my review, below, of Ringling's Built To Amaze, a show with plenty to cheer about,  I searched the internet for reviews of the show by regular media across the nation, and found virtually nothing.  In fact, during the year, I've not seen a single review, nor do I recall cyber courier Don Covington sending out any.

Very strange-- if I have this right. I found just one write up, from the New York Post giving the show a good generic 3-star send off on the sunny if short side, ending with "It might not be the greatest show on earth, but it's certainly the biggest show on earth."

Nothing from the New York Times.  From the Los Angeles Times or the San Francisco rags.  Searched a few other cities. Same zero result.

What really surprised me was to find that the Brooklyn Paper apparently ignored the show.  Inexplicable because this was the first year for Ringling to play the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the feisty Brooklyn Paper does issue real live opinionated reviews.  Perhaps the seaside locals are still fuming over Ringling's short lived but promising stint as a projected annual visitor, under a real big top, to Coney Island -- oh, how wonderful that was!  I wouldn't blame them.

One might consider, among many reasons of contemporary relevance, the increasing skittishness of critics to embrace the defiantly traditional Ringling show, which this year puts the image of a cute little elephant in a cap front and center on its large city billboard ads.

Most tellingly, in his New York Post review, Gregory E. Miller included this: "Unfortunately, their [the elephants'] treatment has long been a widespread point of contention. Protesters stood outside the opening night of the show, handing out fliers that featured a disturbing image of an elephant’s leg in chains. Edie Falco recently released a PETA video taking up the cause. It certainly puts a damper on things."

Perhaps my search for reviews missed something.   I doubt it.  Amazing?  Maybe not.

1 comment:

Katharine kavanagh said...

It's amazing, isn't it, the lack of critical discourse on circus performances at the moment! There's certainly a move towards improving the situation though, with advocacy groups like CircusNow holding their recent 'Speaking Circus' symposium, and European 'Unpack The Arts' residencies for cultural journalists to learn about the art form. Looking forward to seeing more rather than less as time goes on!