Circus performers and animals have been entertaining audiences for decades. Every circus has acrobats, high wire walkers, aerialists, lion trainers and clowns – and this show has them all and much more.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey took all those acts and wove them together with a storyline that ignites the audience imagination and makes every performance much more interesting.
The arena is set up with floating globes and bright LED projections. Images of stars and galaxies flash all around and on the big screens. The ice floor is illuminated with astronomical designs. The whole setup prepares the audience for a trip to outer space.
The ice flooring is a new innovation for circus shows. Many of the acts were performed while skating on the ice.
The show opens with a countdown, and on lift-off, you see three astronauts balancing on high-wire. With the lighting and special effects, it looks like the moonwalk.
The story is a typical struggle between good and evil. The good ringmaster is on a quest to find the best circus performers in the galaxy and bring them to earth for the greatest show in the universe. While the evil queen wants the performers for her own show.
The show featured some returning acts like the Torres family from Paraguay who raced motorcycles in a small (6-foot) globe with speeds up to 60 mph. Up to 6 bikes were cramped in this tiny space while spinning fast. With the stage lights dimmed and the cycle’s lights blasting, it looked like a tornado of light.
There were also new acts like the Chinese aerobatics team who were tumbling on the ice and the Simet family who presented their new Space Walk at the beginning of the show.
One of my favorite performances was by the cute domesticated animals. The stage was invaded by every kind of pet you can imagine. There were cats and dogs, donkeys, goats, Lamas, Alpacas and pigs.
Notably, absent this year were the Asian Elephants. Thankfully they were all retired to a conservation center in Florida. The decision to retire the Elephants was largely driven by new legislation regulating travel and accommodation conditions for the huge animals.
In general, my family and I loved the show, especially the new innovations and the space theme. I also noticed that the children around us were enthralled by all the acts.