Editor’s Fanfare Vol. II, No. 3

To Review or Not to Review

As per usual, this installment’s Passing Spectacle covers a wide range of circuses from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to Mexico’s Circo Rolex.  And as per usual as well these spectacles are wildly different one from another.   In just the past week I have seen three more circuses, whose reviews  await to be written and published in the next issue.  They add to the enormous diversity that is circus in America at the moment.

With so many circuses to be seen and considered it is obviously impossible for me to see all of them.  Some are just too difficult to get to in terms of convenient travel, and I have decided to pass on some others because their economic situation does not allow them to compete artistically with more heavily financed shows.

I bring this up because one of the circuses I review here in this issue was a disappointment, and if I am to make any claims about the integrity of my reviews I had to say so.  I would have preferred not to because some of the people involved have provided me with a great deal of pleasure in past performances.

In the previous issue I noted in my review of this year’s Monte Carlo festival that after seeing so many circuses and circus acts what I hope to find in any circus performance now is something that will surprise me and rekindle the excitement I felt when I went to the circus as a kid.  I have come to realize in the fifteen years of publishing Spectacle in print and online that there are some circuses that by virtue of either their own ambitions or economic status will not be able to provide that kind of experience, so I have decided to eschew them, insofar as reviewing is concerned.

I don’t expect every circus I see to be world-class entertainment, but the majority of those I attend regularly  do aspire to that level of artistic achievement and if they fall short  I feel obliged to express my feelings.

Perhaps I am a bit jaded and even out of touch with what most circus audiences want or expect from the shows they see, but I do know, even as I knew after twenty-five years of reviewing the New York theatre, that I am still capable of being thrilled and excited, and go to every circus hoping that it will rekindle that kind of experience anew, and when it does I will do my best to cheer on those artists who have provided it.