Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Ringling Bros Circus

Last night, the wee ones and I headed to the circus for the opening night at the United Center. Knowing it was going to be a late night, we brought along their pajamas to change into during intermission. Good thing we did - as much as the wee ones enjoyed the circus, they somehow managed to relax again enough to fall asleep in the car.

This year's show is FUNundrum, celebrating the 200th birthday of P.T. Barnum, the founder of the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus. As such, they integrated a number of acts that were traditionally in circuses in a humorous way, such as the bearded lady, the strong man, the wild man from Borneo, and more.

It seemed like it was a very quick show, but we were there for more than two hours - not counting the hour preaccess show where we were able to watch an elephant make a painting, try on some outfits from the circus, see previews of some of the upcoming acts, and - of course - get our clown noses.

Once the show began, everyone was enthralled. Of course, the initial items of fascination were the cotton candy and the shaved ice my dad purchased the wee ones. Thank goodness I kept Mister Man in short sleeves, as I couldn't believe how sticky he got!

The show itself seemed to have a bit of an Asian influence with lots of acrobatics and contortionist acts and the like. That isn't to say that there wasn't the requisite tiger and elephant acts, along with a dog and pony show (that included an elephant and llamas and a donkey) with the cutest little girl assisting what I assume was her mom.

The show was set up with three rings for much of it, making it hard to focus on just one place - you frequently felt like you were missing something, but whatever was right in front of you was so compelling that you couldn't look away. The main acts such as the trapeze and high wire were the only acts going on at the time, fortunately. It would have been hard to look away from the Globe of Steel and the seven motorcycles racing inside!

The one distraction I had - and my mom commented on it, as well - was the video screens that were new this year. There were various screens around the arena between the seats and the show. They would raise and lower based on whether the act was in the air or on the ground. While they were always relevant and sort of cool, they were distracting from some of the acts themselves.

That aside, everyone loved the show - and the finale, which was the cutest little baby elephant (not yet two years old!) who came out at the end with her mom. Adorable!

There are still several shows running at the United Center:
Thu November 18 7:00PM
Fri November 19 10:30AM, 7:00PM
Sat November 20 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:30PM
Sun November 21 1:00PM, 5:00PM
Tue November 23 7:00PM
Wed November 24 7:00PM
Fri November 26 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:30PM
Sat November 27 11:30AM, 3:30PM, 7:30PM
Sun November 28 1:00PM, 5:00PM

Don't miss it! You can still get your tickets at a discount. Simply use the code MOM to purchase a family 4 pack of tickets for $44 Monday-Thursday and Friday matinees or (and?) to save $4 off all weekend shows. Enter the code in the "MC Promotions Box" on Ticketmaster or provide the code when purchasing your tickets via phone (1-800-745-3000) or at the box office. The offer is not valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row or VIP seats. No double discounts. Service charges and handling fees may apply.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with tickets to the circus. I did not receive any compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

  1. The baby elephants name is Barack and his mothers name is Bonnie. Ringling can only show young male elephants for about 7 years before they become to strong and dangerous to control, then these male elephants are locked up and their feet never touch grass again. where as the female elephants have to perform until they die in about 40 years.

    There’s no family fun to be had at an event that involves such cruelty and suffering. This year when the circus comes to town, don’t give your dollars to support this unnecessary cruelty.


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