Out of This World | Allstate Arena | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Jeff Kavanaugh

A gaping hole was left in the Greatest Show on Earth when after years of criticism from animal rights advocates the elephants were retired last spring. But it's a hole the folks of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, stealing a page from Cirque du Soleil, have filled with a diverting narrative in which the ringmaster and his sidekick go on a quest to save the circus stars from the evil intergalactic Queen Tatiana. As in Cirque shows, the plot, however loose, gives sharpness and coherence to what might otherwise be a fragmented revue-style show. This edition has three additional strengths: a terrific pace (not a single act drags), terrific musical accompaniment (no dependence on circus cliches or overplayed top 40), and costumes that are pure eye candy. —Jack Helbig



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