by Anura Guruge
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Click to ENLARGE.
All the pictures taken by Deanna with her Olympus Stylus SZ-16
YouTube video of the entire elephant act.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, at the Verizon, in Manchester, NH, in October, for the Sunday evening performance is yet another of our annul events, along with Christmas Revels, the Highland Games at Loon, Laconia Multicultural Day. We have been doing it, without fail, since 2007. So we know this show quite well.
Last year we had a lot of issues with the bunny eating python and cigarettes being sold. We made such a fuss about this that we ended up with (good) complimentary seats for this year’s circus. Thank YOU, Feld Entertainment (they being who put on the circus and as such provided the tickets).
I am going to try and keep this short and do so by using pithy bullet points.
>> It was good. I am a sucker for circuses and enjoy them all. Kids, and not just Tesichan, were whooping and cheering and that to me is what a circus should do. So on that score alone ‘Legends’ was OK.
>> It was, by far, the least spectacular circus we have seen from Ringling & Barnum! It was a low-key affair and you got the distinct impression that it was a low-budget production. Plus, looking through the ($15) souvenir program (which we always get because Teischan will look at it for years) it would appear that they cut out two big acts from this performance — motorcycle high-wire act (which we have seen a number of times, but still enjoy) and the ‘hairialist’ — hanging from their hair act (though there was a variant of this last year). To be fair to Feld, Manchester also did not live up to its side of the deal. The arena was less than half full. The emptiest we have seen it. I talked to an usher. Appears that attendance was down at all the performances. They are blaming the Deerfield Fair which was on the same weekend.
>> This show lacked any big apparatus spectaculars. There were no huge canons, giant rotating wheels or elaborate sets. It was mainly animals and different Chinese acrobatic events.
>> More animals than I have ever seen. They even had two pigs and two kangaroos! The pigs, though real pokers, were cut though they made me hungry! Yes, given my penchant for pork, big pigs get the digestive juices flowing. The kangaroos were pathetic and unbecoming of this outfit.
>> It would appear the the circus is pushing back on the animal activists and trying to make a point. We got quite a few lectures about how well they look after the elephants. That I am kind of willing to believe. They had 6 elephants and I studied them carefully. Only one, albeit the youngest (at 14), looked off-key. The others seemed in great condition. As I have said before I do not have a problem with elephants performing. They are like dogs. Once domesticated they like to please and they are not made to do anything unnatural and degrading.
>> We all hate the big cat act. That has to go. That is really quite vile. And then the ‘cat guy’ paraded around with a scrawny leopard that looked scared. That made me very uneasy.
>> Deanna and the kids love the dog act but I would be happy if that was scrapped. A dog jumping from a basket attached to a 20′ pole does not make me happy.
>> There were memorable acts, mainly by the various Chinese troupes: the diabolo (two-sided top spun with a rope) act was special, as was the pole ‘dancing’ and bicycle acts. The tumbling acts were professional though nothing that remarkable by today’s standards.
>> The motorcycle rides in their ‘cage of death’ and the trapeze act is a perennial. We seem to see them every year.
>> The clown acts were toned down and there was nothing objectionable.
>> For the first time they did not have ‘Preferred Seating’ audience members coming on stage to be driven around. That was nice and Deanna noticed their absence at once.
>> In many ways it was an old-fashioned circus. Less apparatus, no real whiz-bang acts and just fairly routine animal and acrobatic acts.
It was OK. We will go next year too. That could be the last year for the elephants.
Another video. This one a photo-montage.
Disney On Ice: Treasure Trove, Manchester, NH, Verizon Arena, January 30, 2013. We Went. It Was Fun. Some Pictures.
.by Anura Guruge
Click to ENLARGE.
All the pictures by Deanna with her new Panasonic ZS20 (without flash).
I will admit it. It exceeded my expectations, but I hadn’t set the bar very high. But, lets face it, I was far from the target audience. The kids were mesmerized, tantalized and given a magical carpet ride, both figuratively and literally. What more can you ask. Yes, it was good. It was fun. It was slick. It was Disney with a Feld twist (see the top, very cute, thank you e-mail from them). Feld’s are who do the ‘Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey‘ circus, in Manchester, that we go to each year, without fail. Given our familiarity with the circus, we could see the similarities. But, that is OK. The Feld’s try hard.
The show was choreographed to the minute. 40 minute first half, 1 hour second half. Started at 7, finished, on the nose at 9. Not counting the Disney key character cameos, they did 8 or 9 Disney shows: Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lion King, Snow White, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Tangled, Super Heroes etc. Alice, Peter Pan, Toy Story and Aladdin were long, featured segments. The others were shorter. The Lion King dramatization with costumes was brilliant, pure Geld circus. It was good. I particularly liked the lighted lanterns from Tangled. That was a nice touch. That was my favorite.
That we paid $15 seat, not counting the 57% markup by the despicable TicketMaster, made it even better. We had reasonable seats, but not together. Teischan had a ‘B’ row seat. So 2nd row OFF the ice. I think it was too close. But she loved it. Deanna sat directly behind her in ‘C’ and I sat in ‘D’. Devanee sat in ‘F’, and though she acted as if she was not amused, liked the show. She probably had the best seat, given the banking.
A Few Random Observations & Comments:
>> They started the show by TRYING to get the audience to get up and do some warm up exercises. They, with the help of the Super Heroes, were stressing the importance of exercise. That was good. I was impressed. That only 25% of the audience stood up, as urged, to swing a leg reminded me that this was NH. No, I didn’t bother to get up. But, I had slogged up Prospect Mountain for my 2.25 mile run before the show. But, here is what spoiled it all. The male Master of Ceremonies that they had, introducing this exercise segment, dressed in a tight black sweat shirt, looked like he was 13 months pregnant! Talk about setting a bad example. Reminded me, at once, about Destination Imagination NH and going to their meets. All these good people stand up and extol the kids of numerous uplifting virtues, but many of them look as if they are wearing fat suits to appear funny.
>> Every time I go to the Verizon I am struck by what a big problem we have in NH, especially in the Winter, with OBESITY. I was just looking at the men, acutely aware that I still need to lose 15 pounds — having already lost 5 pounds since last week. [Deanna admitted that she hates me!] What can I say. I asked my friend, ‘my brain‘, to help. So many of the men are grotesquely obese! This is not good.
>> They were advertising event parking at $10, $15 and $25! It was a 7pm show. I didn’t appreciate it, but the meters near the Verizon, during the week, are 8am to 8pm. But, they are only 75 cents an hour, two hour max. So even at 6pm you could get a ticket valid till 8pm for $1.50. After 8pm it is free! I guess people don’t know the parking situation around the arena. That is a pity.
>> The economy has to be good in NH. People were spending money on food, drinks, cotton candy and the toys like there was no tomorrow. That is good. Good for the economy. I was pleased. We didn’t buy anything in the arena (for a change). The kids are getting better. They now realize that the LED Mohawk headgear you buy for $20 at the Verizon is available in the mall for $2.
.by Anura Guruge
We have been getting promo e-mails for this for months. Given all the shows and concerts we attended in December, I was kind of ignoring them. Then this morning Deanna again got the $15 per seat opening night offer. So, I decided to go for it. For the last 2 years, rather than going to Disney on ice we had been going to the ‘Educational Theatre Collaborative‘ (ETC) production at Plymouth State University: ‘Peter Pan‘ (2011) and ‘The Wild Swans‘ (2012). This year’s show was about the history of Plymouth. Since we are not from Plymouth I knew the kids would not be impressed if I took them to it. So, Disney on Ice was the make-up.
I had to go through damn TicketMaster for the $15 tickets — given that we were not going to be going anywhere close to Manchester in the next few weeks. I hate TicketMaster, I really do. I could only find individual seats, but I managed to get 4 in a cluster, quite close to the ice. I was hell-bent on not paying more than $15 — since that was the offer. Plus we have had great luck with cheap seats at the Verizon, especially with the circus. When all was said and done, and I chose the $2 EXTRA ‘home printing option’, we ended up paying $23.50 per ticket — $8.50 markup per ticket by bloody TicketMaster. That is a 57% markup. I was not happy. But, since it was TicketMaster I always expect to be raped. Yes, I know they have been sued. Most times I just refuse to buy tickets through them. For the circus we always drive down to get the tickets.
…by Anura Guruge
We are off to see Dralion by Cirque du Soleil at the Verizon Arena Manchester. In the end we could not resist and the kids really wanted to see it.
He are hooked. Just a few weeks ago we saw Mystère in Las Vegas. To say it exceed expectations would be inadequate. The kids are veterans of Barnum & Baily and the Big Apple Circus. I have seem circuses all over the world. But, this was special.
I am not sure why but Mystère was my first Cirque du Soleil experience. It isn’t as if I don’t go to big shows and there was a time when I was in Vegas, albeit on business, at least 3 times a year. Yes, I do remember that in 1996 or 1997 I was given tickets for Mystère in Vegas but couldn’t make it because I had other things to do. So we are kind of trying to catch up. After a quick chat with the kids we decided we will still go to see Barnum & Baily, at the Verizon, per our annual tradition, in September — always the last show of the trip, on Sunday so we can stay to watch the elephants walk to the train.
The Verizon is small enough that you don’t need expensive seats. So you don’t have to spend a real lot of money — though Cirque shows are, alas, expensive. Tickets in Manchester are much cheaper than the cheapest seats in Vegas, even through vegas.com, which I will henceforth recommend. They do deliver.