Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey: Over the Top | United Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey: Over the Top 

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 30 2008
Phone: 312-559-1212
Price: $13-$85
Ringling Bros. has reinvented itself with Over the Top. Most of the innovations in this delightful, energetic, fast-paced show are borrowed from other, hipper circuses (in particular the always-mutating Cirque de Soleil). But this touring show couldn't look and feel less like last year's edition--or any previous edition, for that matter. The three rings have been jettisoned in favor of a single, large playing area, and the Ringling imagineers have overlaid the traditional one-act-after-another structure with a narrative, albeit a very simple one, about a pompous, resentful clown--brilliantly played by Tom Dougherty--who wants to steal the circus from ringmaster Chuck Wagner. The result is a show that never drags, always delights, and leaves you wanting more. --Jack Helbig

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