Wednesday, April 13, 2016

From Luray VA: Niece Lisa Reviews Ringling's CIRCUS XTREME ... About the Elephants Retiring: "They are SO the circus for Brian and I" ...

Photos by Lisa

The last elephant act on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, only two weeks from retirement.  My niece Lisa  Gerrity and her family recently went to see Ringling's Circux Xtreme.  How I wished I had seen the show when it came to the Bay Area -- blame it partly on a confusing Ringling ad grouping three show dates together.   Here is a review of the show which Lisa sent me, and which I am happy to print, because it strikes me as a real review.  In Lisa's own words... drum rolls! ...

Brian surprised us and bought tickets to the circus! So we drove an hour and 15 minutes to Fairfax Virginia, took Noah and his little friend, and enjoyed the show.

Growing up with the circus, and an uncle (guess who?) who wrote about it, Ive always gotten butterflies in my stomach when the lights came up and the music started. I'm happy to say that this still happens for me even at the tender age of 53. Luckily my husband also loves the circus and the traditional acts that  we remember as children.

One Ring Fans

One thing that we always agree on is the three ring circus idea. Both my husband and I get overwhelmed with three rings and always felt like we were missing part of the show. We were so excited to see only one ring at the circus this year and enjoyed it so much more.

The show started with the National Anthem with an elephant draped with a sequin red white and blue cape. A woman road on its back and waved to the crowd As we all sang the patriotic song. What a great way to open the circus, God bless America!

Refreshing Ringmaster Relief 

The Act after that included two horses, dancers, cyclists, and an "around the world" boat. We really enjoyed the opener.  We loved the young ringmaster (David Shipman), who was also a great singer and rolled around on an elevated little platform that raised up really high now and then.  I must say he is one of my favorite ringmasters in recent years.  If I had to say why, it would be because of his friendly face, enthusiasm, wonderful singing voice, and lack of cheesiness that some ring masters suffer from.  We liked him!!

Good Circusy Music ... Ho Hum Camels and Clowns

Costumes were good, not amazing, and music was good, more circusy than recent years. 😊

The camels were next and failed to entertain us. The theme seemed to be a "travel around the world" theme. We had not seen camels before and although they were interesting to look at, and the ladies on them had pretty outfits on, the ladies just kind of struck different poses as the camels went around in circles for a little too long. We started to lose interest after a while.

Next, onto MT EVEREST and the brief clown act.  It was multiple clowns and quite honestly I miss having just one clown do a cute theme throughout the circus and come out with his little suitcase of tricks or something that entertained us in between setting up for the next act.

The Tight rope was exciting and amazing as was the human canon.

The skiing tap dancers act (clowns) was short and sweet to fill a few minutes.
They Missed the Trapeze

We really enjoyed the Glow in the dark swinging acrobats up high! Does this replace the flying trapeze? If so we missed the traditional act. 

Clowns with big balls were just ok.

A big Mongolian man lifted 551 lbs with his teeth, and we wondered if it was real.

The Elephants were brief but entertaining and adorable.

The Mermaids had beautiful costumes but failed to entertain us with the Middle ball with white dancers.   Pretty but not impressive at all.

The Spinning wheel is always thrilling and Spectacular.

The Ring of tigers was impressive with 16 beautiful white tigers and a Latin trainer.  One hopped like a bunny.

Poodle show... Boring

Bike Riders and Acrobats Thrill the Boys 

Bouncing acrobats and cyclists at the end were new and exciting! Our two 10-yr-olds said that was their favorite.

Overall, we'd give it an 8 and return to see Ringling Circus again!



I e-mailed Lisa about the elephants retiring this year.  Her reply:

"We learned that they are going to the farm in 2 weeks! We are SO GLAD we got to see them one more time. They are SO the circus for Brian and I.  Thanks for raising us to love the big top!!!"

And thank you, Lisa, for sharing your feedback  I'm glad you had a good time, especially given recent depressing big setbacks on the American circus scene. The elephants are gone from Ringling, and the entire Cole Bros. Circus is gone.  A double bummer!

Our guest critic from Luray, Virginia: Lisa, left, with sister Debbie, the latter about to move with hubby to Alaska.   And me in one of my rare selfies. We joined company a few weeks ago when Lis and Deb were out touring these parts.  Had a fabulous dinner at a Chinese restaurant, Little Shin Shin on Piedmont Avenue, only a few delicious blocks from where I live.  Utter perfection.

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