Review: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Present Circus XTREME



Guest Post By Susan Smigielski Acker. Complimentary tickets were provided by Feld Entertainment to facilitate this review.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum Circus is in town with Circus Xtreme, a show that will delight all ages. 

My family of four, which includes my husband and our two daughters, Charlotte, 13, and Julia, almost 11 years old attended at Norfolk Scope opening night.

This year, the show dubbed the greatest show on Earth, has much in the way of excitement with plenty of daring human acts that define logic. My favorite was the tight rope walkers who appear in the beginning of the show. They manage to not only to walk across the tight rope, but do various tricks including standing on each other’s shoulders while walking across. This was one of many favorites for the entire family.

I thought the human cannonball was fun. First time I ever saw a woman do it. She made it look so easy.

Charlotte and my husband especially liked a unique part of the show. A man did tricks with two huge metal wheels attached to either end of two long bars. The whole thing spun while the wheels spun too. He did everything from jumping rope to running in and out of it of the wheels. He looked like he was flying through the air.

Julia and I enjoyed the acrobats who performed on a trampoline.

The animal acts are still present, however, much less than I have seen less than in previous years. The camels come out the first part of the show. They are quite the sight to behold. The elephants make appearance with their tricks of walking and jumping on their hind legs. The tigers are playful with their trainer, raising their large paws to him. The best animal act is the poodles with their showy brand of tricks, according to my daughters.

One tip to keep in mind when you go - get there early. I recommend a little more than one hour before the official start time. There is much to see and do. At Scope, there was a side convention room open to see the animals up close. That room was open early. We all enjoyed seeing the camels up close because that is one of the few animals that is not at the Virginia Zoo.

In addition, you can go down to the main arena floor to watch a few clown acts up close, meet some of the performers and young kids can enjoy a bounce house. That area opens one hour before the show. Make sure you take your camera, because the performers on the floor are willing to pose for pictures which is a great souvenir.

Another reason, the crowd, while moving, is big, so keep little ones close. I would not try to roll a large stroller though the arenas. Call ahead if you think you might need help with wheelchair. I saw a few and all seemed to have an official escort.

The Ringing Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus Xtreme will be at Norfolk Scope until April 12. It then moves to the Peninsula at Hampton Coliseum April 15 to April 19, 2015.

Norfolk Scope Showtimes:

  • Thursday, April 9 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, April 10 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 11 - 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 12 - 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

Hampton Coliseum Showtimes:

  • Wednesday, April 15 – 7:30 pm
  • Thursday, April 16 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, April 17 – 10:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 18 - 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 19 - 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

To find out more about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey PRESENTS Circus XTREME or for tickets, visit

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