Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A simpler circus

Posted By on 11.08.11 at 09:00 AM

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A circus virgin will find plenty to love at Fully Charged, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show now playing the Allstate Arena in Rosemont and running at the United Center November 16-27.

Brian Crawford Scott—a prince of a ringmaster with a Broadway voice—and his Moscow-trained clown of an assistant, Stas, introduce fire jugglers, elephants on parade, tigers that sit up and beg, a human sling-shot missile on fire, spinning wheel walkers, and amazing acrobats in eye-popping costumes. The circus still travels with its own band and this production has a dazzling light-show of an arch for a backdrop. But if you've been to the Greatest Show on Earth before you'll know what's missing: last Saturday morning at the Arena there were no roaring motorcycles chasing around the inside of a globe, no somersaulting doggies, no high-wire dancers, no daring young men on the flying trapeze. The climactic acts involved bounce stilts and a tumble track—more spectacle than thrill. Still, if you can resist the blinking cups of Dippin' Dots and neon whirligigs, and the continuing concerns of animal rights activists, it's the greatest show on earth for the money. Feed the kids at home and arrive an hour early for up-close, preshow activities (and photo ops) on the arena floor.

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