If you didn’t realize from the giant Elephant Parade last week, the circus is in town. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Fully Charged Tour spent the weekend in Chinatown for a slate of shows at the Verizon Center. The circus will continue in Baltimore for the rest of the month and then head to Fairfax for a run of performances.
Ringling Bros.’ return to the DC-area wasn’t welcomed by all. PETA asked Mayor Gray to investigate claims of animal abuse and protesters were out in force outside the Verizon Center urging families not to see The Greatest Show on Earth. PETA has also recently released a new video starring Alec Baldwin pleading for a boycott of animal-featured circuses.
Regardless of the controversy, the show is a spectacle beyond any other where the best moments are found sans elephants, tigers, or other animals. An overwhelming mixture of human feats will surely draw the attention of any young child.
The performance itself consisted of an opening musical number followed by alternating animal and human acts separated by clown-led interludes. The Fully Charged opening number, sung by Ringmaster Brian Crawford Scott, is kinda cheesy yet now stuck in my head. As for the acts the highlights include The Fearless Fernandez Brothers who perform inside twin steel turbines and “The Human Fuse” Brian Miser who is lit on fire and launched into the air by a giant crossbow. It’s an act that makes for a perfect finale but strangely wasn’t when I attended the show. Instead an amusing but anti-climatic gymnastic number capped off the night. Maybe it’s because I’m closer to 30 than 10 but I wasn’t very entertained by the animals. It’s pretty much the same tricks over and over again. Also of note the show runs for about two hours with an intermission in between, a tad long for a family with young children. I saw a few families leave around the 90-minute mark- which is about how long most animated features last.
Still if you are looking for something the whole family can enjoy, catch the show at the 1st Mariner Arena between March 21- April 1 and at The Patriot Center from April 4- April 15. Full ticket information can be found over at Ticketmaster.