You could pack any doubts about the wonderfulness of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus into a toy poodle's knapsack and still have plenty of room for cotton candy and other spectator geedunks. But if you piled up all the adjectives and adverbs, qualifiers and identifiers that hint at the pleasures of a three-ring circus, not even the herd of elephants encamped at the Starplex Armory could carry that weight on their broad backs.
The circus is in town until April 18; until then, darn everything but the circus.
This is the 111th edition of an institution that keeps its audience forever young. The circus has its slow moments, mostly the gaudy, semi-tasteful and somewhat self-reverential parades that open ("Our Circus Toast to You"), close ("Three Ring Farewell") and interrupt the show ("Jungle Drums," "The Good Ship Ringling," "Circus on Parade"). These are mainly an opportunity to show off color-wheel costumes and splendiferous plumage. Oh well, eyes love a parade.
Highlights? They're hard to keep up with (as circologist See CIRCUS, B16, Col. 4 CIRCUS, From B1 Dr. Seuss says, "we'll work and we'll work up so many surprises, you'd never see half if you had forty eyeses!").
How about Gunther Gebel-Williams, the heroic animal trainer (specializing in tigers and elephants) who wears a leopard-skin wrap--with the leopard still in it! Henry Schroer's panthers and leopards walking tightropes and slinking about mischievously!! Those craaa-zy Carrillo Brothers doing things on a thin wire 30 feet above the ground that most people wouldn't even think about doing on the ground . . . and without even a Republican safety net!!! Through the performance, one often hears "For the first time ever, they will attempt . . ." When the results are in, the Ahhhs! have it.
The circus continues to be a melting pot, presenting for the "First Time in America" the Parvanoni, Dukovis and Kovatchevi families of acrobats from Bulgaria, and Miss Anna's Russian Wolfhounds. There are horses, of courses, and giraffes, bears, monkeys and elephants by the ton; Flying Farfans and Vasquezes (they work on trapezes), more clowns than on Capitol Hill, and enough thrills, chills (and even a few spills) to bruise your nerves and tightly tense your tummy over three hours of daring and delight. Did anyone mention The Globe of Death?
Dr. Seuss could only draw and dream of how things would be "If I Ran the Circus." The Feld family, proprietors of this real-life extravaganza, have realized the essence of the fantasy, so perhaps Seuss' words apply: "The Cream of the Cream! The Circus Supreme! Colossal! Stupendous! Terrific! Tremendous! . . . The World's Greatest Show on the face of the earth or wherever you go!"