Greatest show on Earth?
Perhaps not, but with classic, miniature bicycles, agile elephants and even high-fiving tigers, this spectacle may be the most entertaining addition to Coney Island in quite some time.
Although known for its often unconventional entertainment, these images are still not those traditionally associated with the beach-front Brooklyn neighborhood.
This summer, however, it is the home of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s: BOOM A RING – from June 18 to September 7.
Led by accomplished “Specialty Eccentric Personality,” Justin Case, the show boasts numerous attractions practically guaranteed to attract even the most cynical child – and perhaps even some adults with a zest for the bright and wacky.
Case continues to be surprisingly funny throughout, proving that he was well-chosen for his esteemed position as the “Greatest Show on Earth’s” resident orator. Although the French native primarily focuses on slapstick, he proves to possess a kid-friendly version of a razor wit, as well, with lines like: “Kids, you want to work in the circus? Practice sleeping in your car.”
Not restricted to the verbal jousting, Case also has shown an ability to effectively reenact classic circus acts with his array of bicycles, including one that falls apart faster than either installment of “Crank” and a miniature one, which has seen its fair share of rings of fire.
While the spectacle continues to dazzle the audience with classic numbers, ranging from bumble-bee-vest clad jugglers who tackle pins with aerodynamic finesse to graceful acrobats, the real stars of this company have traditionally been its animals.
Temporally led by “Vedyashkina Daschunds,” this trio of acts visibly incites enormous amounts of wonder from not only their younger viewers, though those certainly reign in abundance.
Although Diana Vedyashkina does a commendable job with her wiener-dog quintet, that act ultimately fails in comparison to the majesty of its successors – those of the towering elephants and the exotic Bengal tigers.
Ramon Esqueda’s elephants are surprising to watch as these giants are hardly the species associated with the behavior they exhibit onstage.
Stealing the show, however, are the Bengal tigers, whose natural grace, poise and charisma continues to surreptitiously ooze through the slew of spectators. These gloriously proud creatures are often rebellious toward their trainer, the talented multi-tasker Vicenta Pages, who also serves as an aerialist and presenter, but ultimately succumb to her feminine wiles with a decidedly charming high-five.
Other numbers of mention include Karl Winn’s “Wheel of Steel,” a gargantuan mechanism with an attached hamster wheel for its performer. Inciting heart-pounding daring, Winn continues to up the ante throughout his act as the wheel spins around its base by jumping rope on top of it.
Newlywed team Borislava Vaneva and Valentin Dinov astound with their perch and bicycle perch act. Dinov’s head was seemingly made of the same steel it carefully balanced to withstand to weight of the heavy, metallic attachments and the admittedly slight girl.
A weaker act, however, comprised of married couple Martti Peltonen and Liina Aunola, who doubles as an aerialist. Although the technical savvy of their crossbow number is highly admirable, moments between shots are often extended and could perhaps use a background distraction until set-up is complete. Its finale, however, is impressive, to say the least.
And the view’s clear from the cheap seats, as well.
Although it may not live up to its title, Ringling Bros.’ latest spectacular is delightfully campy and appropriately daring. Ultimately, in a world gradually becoming devoid of the big top, this archaic return to the circus of yesteryear is a must for the summer season.