The Greatest Show on Earth Comes to Manchester

How old is too old for the circus? Or maybe the question should be stated differently. Let’s try this: How old is too old for The Greatest Show On Earth?

Trick question alert! Last week I tested a theory that the circus is fun for any age (I hadn’t been in more than 20 years), and after three hours of magic in Manchester, I’m thrilled to report that the theory was proven correct.

friends at circus

My friends and I attended the opening night of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey‘s Built to Amaze show. The website stated that each show’s “surprise and wonder delights audiences with over the top feats of strength, agility and courage. As the momentum builds so does the anticipation, anything can happen…” I was intrigued to find out if this promise held true for all audience members, and not just those who were accompanied by parents and lucky to be out so late on a school night. 

We arrived early for the All Access Pre-show that offers an opportunity to “feel what it’s like to be part of The Greatest Show On Earth.” While I know a handful of friends who would steer clear of mingling with clowns due to an extreme fear of these comical characters, I on the other hand had a blast. My inner child jumped at every chance to soak in the pre-show’s buzzing energy that filled the arena floor. We learned circus skills from performers, tried on outrageous costumes, took selfies with friendly clowns, and a select few were chosen to perform right alongside the professionals (see the photo of my friend who was pulled from the crowd to be in a penguin dance).

circus penguin dance

After an hour on the circus floor, we ventured to find our seats and then watched another entertaining pre-show, the set up process. The coordination of show elements before and during the evening’s event is something I probably ignored as a child, but found fascinating as a grownup. As a child you’re simply in awe of the acrobat or animal trainer, and as an adult you’re equally impressed by the hardworking team behind each act. A quick moving group worked together in unison to move props and equipment, effortlessly clean up after skits, and provide assistance to ensure the safety of all performers.

As the ringmaster introduced himself and we settled in for the show, I was already enthralled. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey managed to make the circus so much more than a show. It was truly an experience. The entertainment moved at a fast pace with changing acts jumping from one to another with little time to take your eyes away from the arena. My senses were on overload, and my eyes never complained of bordeom.

I don’t want to give away all the secrets of the show, but I do encourage you to make a move out of your ordinary routine and grab tickets for the circus the next time it’s in town. And don’t even try to use the excuse, “I’m too old.”

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