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Posts : 21
Join date : 2009-09-12

PostSubject: BARNUM IN EUROPE WITHOUT THE SPARKLE   Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:11 pm

MILAN - The last time Ringling bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus came in Europe was in 1963. The Circus was chased by the major european enterprises. The newly founded Circo Americano in Italy, the mastodontic Krone, Sarrasani e Williams in Germany, the Bougliones in France. What was supposed to be a triumph (and financial success) for the american company, became a tour that had to be cut short to avoid a major collapse.
No wonder if we had to wait 46 years for a come back!
A couple of years ago an unknown member of a circusfans forum wrote a mysteriuos post about an american circus next to tour Europe. Indeed last january an european tour of Ringling was announced provoking incredulity and sceptiscism among those who love circuses. The information was vague; the tour was supposed to start in Italy in autumn, just after the shows in New York. After that, no more news, and frankly, all looked like a name change and a publicity stunt by some circus family. The web side didn't state any upcoming tour in Europe until the end of august. Around that time few dates in Rome and Milan, one week in each city, no big top but an arena show. And later Spain was added. Among the many speculation, somebody spoke about a German tour as well. And that would make sense: why an enormous organizations such as Ringling would come in Europe only for few weeks and not touring the whole Continent. But Germany was soon dropped and only Italy and Spain would have seen the come back of Ringling. Yet, no program was announced. The press was ignoring this information. The tickets were not on pre-sale. The venues were not certain. Even the animal activists were ignoring such an event!
Finally, three weeks before the arrival, the dates were announced, the tickets on sale. The program was a question mark. We knew that the circus wasn't travelling with its huge zoo. Infact, the elephant were the Errani's one, a well famous name among the european rings. The cage came from Germany, Sarah Houcke, who had already worked in Italy, France and Switzerland. Only one week to the opening, the acts were announced and to the surprise of many (or better few) most of the names were already known, and certainly the show didn't sparkle with originality: Pole on shoulder, cycles, wheel of death, globe of death, juggling. A last minute change of the act cage, Hucke was substitute by Jason Peters with his lion and tigers, denounced a surprising lack of organization and a mere improvisation. Certainly what you wouldn't expect from the almight Ringling Bros.
The show wasn't bad, the acts worked very well, but neither the pole on shoulder act, cycles or the magic/escapologism were impressive, nothing that you wouldn't already have seen in one of our circuses. The only ring was miles from the stands, making the view difficult and dispersive and the lack of large troupes made things worst.
Wheel of death and globe of death have become the trade mark of RBBB, but didn't lift an already lame show and made you mourn the loss of high wire and flying trapeze of the hey-days of Barnum! The three elephants of the Erranis were just a palliative of the heard in America and in fact of performance they were inferior to Flavio Togni's 9 elephants and horses. With no horses, exhotic animals, a group of performing sousage dogs were just cute and pleasant to watch, but, I'm sorry to say it, as diminutive as Ringling bros show was.
The music, mostly pre-recorded old stuff, the bad acustic of the arena, the light, didn't help at all in the building of the show.
All the acts were good on their own, well performed, but somehow everything looked unglued and insignificant into the show, nothing special but all deja-vu. I was expecting a little bit more, because it doesn't happen everyday to have the almighty Big One, the Ringling bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the mythical symbol of the american circus, at the front door: the show didnt couse a stir among many, expecially the disappointed circusfans, the lukewArm press, the absent celebrities in search of paparazzis and the 4 animal rights campainers outside, in the rain: many seats were empty.
Ah, give the pre-show party a miss, was a mere face painting and few employees with a red nose!
The Greatest Show on Earth has lost the "Greatest", the rings, and it is just a show.
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Steve Jacks

Posts : 56
Join date : 2009-06-05
Age : 50
Location : Worthing, Sussex, UK

PostSubject: Re: BARNUM IN EUROPE WITHOUT THE SPARKLE   Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:57 am

blimey, interesting post.
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