Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

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The circus should bowl us over. And the 134th edition of America's longest-running show does just that. For those with a taste for loud noise and high-tech stunts, Ringling still features motorcyclists zooming around inside a metalwork sphere. Daredevil acrobat Crazy Wilson still spins on the Pendulum of Pandemonium. But this version seems less driven by such feats than others I've seen. For the first time in 20 years there's a lion-taming act, though the beasts looked more cranky than ferocious. More impressive were the elephants, who balanced on their behinds or their heads with equal aplomb; when they obediently toppled onto their sides, exuding comic good nature and enthusiasm, their legs flew up in the air. Also appealingly low-tech is star clown David Larible--particularly in his role as the Magical Master of Mirth, sprinkling pixie dust on himself to get the girl. Through 11/14: Wed-Fri 7 PM, Sat 11:30 AM and 3:30 and 7 PM, Sun 1 and 5 PM. Thu 11/4, 10:30 AM and 7 PM. Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212. Then at United Center, 1901 W. Madison, 312-455-4500 or 312-559-1212. 11/16-21: Tue-Wed 7 PM, Thu-Fri 10:30 AM and 7 PM, Sat 11:30 AM and 3:30 and 7 PM, Sun 1 and 5 PM. Then 11/23-28: Tue-Wed 7 PM, no show Thu, Fri-Sat 11:30 AM and 3:30 and 7 PM, Sun 1 and 5 PM. $10-$75.

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