Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Summer Circus Spectacular 2018Circus Arts Conservatory / John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Also see Bill's reviews of Carole's Kings and Incognito

Photo Courtesy Circus Arts Conservatory
Just about the time I most desperately need a dose of circus, voila, we have Summer Circus Spectacular 2018, again a joint venture between Circus Arts Conservatory and Ringling Museum of Art, presented at the Historic Asolo Theatre.

It is always a joy to share the auditorium with children of all ages, but this year there is an added delight—many participants from AACT (American Association of Community Theatre) Worldfest 2018, taking place this week at Venice Theatre for the third time. To everyone participating in this wonderful event: welcome to our area, have a wonderful time.

Walking into the auditorium a little later than my usual early self, but still ahead of curtain time, star clown Renaldo (Al "Renaldo" Calienes) was in the middle of some mischief, mixing it up with some of the children. He is excellent with participatory antics. In his last feature he culls eight kids of assorted sizes, shapes and ethnicities, and has them passing spinning plates down the line. His rapport with a stage full of children is remarkable.

Curtain time and the first act features Denis Ignatov spinning large geometric objects, producing colorful light patterns and audience excitement. Then, Renaldo has his first spot, this time aided by sidekick Little Lulu. Mr. & Mrs. G (Ottavio and Naomi Gesmundo) thrill with death-defying crossbow shooting and Olga Coronas climbs the silk streamers for an exciting aerial act. Renaldo returns for his feature spot described above, and the final spot belongs to Duo Fusion (Virginia and Giovani), hand balancing.

All this adds up to an hour of everything circus is supposed to be about—thrills and merriment. Because the venue is modest, our performers are able to take to the lobby for greeting and picture taking with the audience members, making an already fun morning or afternoon more personal.

Sarasota is still Circus Town, U.S.A., because of its years long connection to the now shuttered Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Circus families with decades of performances in their past still reside around town. Events like this keep the history from drying out.

A visit to this show is a perfect way to make your family a circus family. With each ticket, Ringling Museum offers a $5 add-on entry to The Tibbals Learning Center Circus Museum, with the largest handcrafted, miniature circus in the world.

Summer Circus Spectacular 2018, through July 28, 2018, by The Circus Arts Conservatory and John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota FL. For more information, visit