As a grownup, going to the circus doesn’t seem like a priority to me. However, when I realized that I had the opportunity to blow the mind of my nephew, Hunter, I knew I had to jump at the chance for tickets to The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Playing only through October 23, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena, “Out Of This World” is truly an awesome experience. Not only did it amuse the 2-year-old little dude, it impressed me and my sister, Kristine, as well.
First let me say that the last time I was at the Greatest Show on Earth, I was still in grade school. My recollections are vague and I had my doubts about the circus’ ability to impress me as an adult.
I was delightfully surprised, and just as amused by the reaction from my nephew, who (at age 2) is lately prone to random meltdowns. There was only one meltdown here during the 2.5 hour show, and that was due to the sudden loss of a binky (crisis averted by backup binky).
With a loose story line centering around two rival pairs of circus ring leaders, the show offers live music, vocalists, aerialists and all of the sights and sounds that your senses can possibly handle. They battle galaxy-wide to reign supreme with the best circus acts, and defy gravity throughout.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the show’s jaw-dropping moments.
Simet Family Astronauts – it’s a “space walk”… with three people in space suits… doing crazy balancing stunts on a spinning wheel of doom really high up in the air. Your science teacher would be stunned. Hunter just kept staring. In awe.
Heilongjiang Provincial Acrobatic Troupe – Although I have no idea how to properly pronounce “Heilongjiang,” these Chinese acrobats leap through hoops, flip into human pyramids and more… ALL WHILE ON ICE SKATES. Hunter’s eyes kept following them around the arena like a hungry cat watching Nemo circle a fish bowl.
Thrill Skaters – Did I mention that the outer “ring” of the arena is an ice rink?! There is an entire army of lyrical/freestyle ice skaters performing wicked tricks and stunts on the ice… WHICH ALSO CATCHES FIRE! Hunter did a lot of pointing.
Sway Pole – not just any old clown, Davis is fearless as he climbs a 47-ft pole to complete a handstand five stories above the audience. The pole is thin. And swaying. And even I couldn’t see the ending coming! Hunter squealed!Much to out joy we also got treated to tigers and lions (courtesy of Alexander Lacey), some very dangerous horse stunts (thank you, Cossack Riders), some really cool Ringling trapeze acts, and some super fun basketball unicycle comedy from King Charles Troupe. We all especially appreciated the prancing llamas, jumping dogs, hopping kangaroo, and various other random fluffy goodness dancing before us.
One act that really made me particularly nervous was the Globe of Steel motorcycle daredevil team. Eight dudes on motorcycles, zooming around in a tiny steel ball. What I REALLY want to know: who decides that’s a “thing?” How do you figure out that’s possible? And how does that conversation go?
Fake conversation: “Hey, nice motorcycle! I hear there’s a new metal globe exhibit over at the Sculpture Gardens…”
Needless to say, it was impressive. And terrifying. Hunter seemed amused.
The big hit of the night for the kid? Ringling Bros. Clown Alley. Apparently in Hunter’s world, clowns are extra hilarious. More hilarious than any joke I could ever tell him. More hilarious than any face my sister could ever make at him. The first time the clowns hit the floor, the kid started into a giggle fit.
And these aren’t just random guys with red noses in colorful apparel honking horns. These are hard-core acrobats with funny skills on top. Great timing, impressive moves, and good gags. And trust me, I’m not usually a clown fan (and Lord they have some terrifying cousins in the news lately), but these clowns cracked us up. Hunter loved every second.
The show boasts a multi-sensory experience as “video screen production enhancements deepen the connection between the audience, the performances and the performers’ journey through space. Projection technology transports fans to far-off planets throughout the galaxy and transforms the arena into a swirling space-scape.”
A free Ringling Bros. mobile app connects families before, during and after the show with content galore. How fun is that?
Greatest Show on Earth? The little dude certainly thinks so. And Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus just helped me win at Thursday! Don’t miss this limited-time event with YOUR family!
Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m. (1 show)
Saturday, October 22 at 11 a.m./3 p.m./7 p.m. (3 shows)
Sunday, October 23 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. (2 shows)
Shows are at the Quicken Loans Arena (The Q) in downtown Cleveland, Ohio
1 Center Court Cleveland, Ohio 44115
$12 – $70