Variety (April 1912)

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22 VARIETY RINGLING CIRCUS. Chicago, April 10. The principal weakness in the Ring- ling show this season, and there is no denying the fact that it is a weak- ness, lies in the pantomimic produc- tion of the much-heralded elaborate spectacle "Joan of Arc," opening the festivities. While the spectacle has been elaborately staged and nicely costumed, there is shyness somewhere bound to stand out with the aggrega- tion carried this year. At the Coliseum Saturday night the pantomime was staged at the south end, where the majority of the finer work was lost to those not seated in its immediate neighborhood. The re- deeming feature about "Joan of Arc" is a ballet of forty-six, who hop around in several nicely staged numbers. The clowning is at times laughable and will probably amuse the kids, for whom intended. Jardo and his flock of animals stand out in the group of clowns, while Fred Stelling draws a laugh occasionally. There are several amusing capers presented by the Ring- ling clowns, but none that leave the lasting impression. However, the Ringlings have gath- ered a great bunch of aerial acts and ground workers, every now and then some Individual act claiming every- one's attention and diverting from the others in the display. This was no- ticed as soon as the regular entertain- ment began, when the Clarkonians, who work on flying swings, began turning doubles and full twists in the air. The couple killed everything for the Nelson Troupe, in the arena at the time with a mild routine of aerial stunts. For class and skill combined, the honors of everything belong to John Rooney and his outfit, who traveled around last season with the Fore- paugh-Sells show. The elephants, divided into three herds, offer little away from the stere- otyped routine. The show runs throughout minus hitches of any kind. While it might be thought consistent to alter the ring positions of several of the more pre- tentious offerings, still, as it plays at present, everyone in the house is treat- ed to a close look at something out of the ordinary. RING ONE. After Frank Johns had worked his herd of pachyderms the Nelson Troupe took the air over the south ring for a turn at the flying swings. While nothing sensational was offered, the exhibition sufficed to fill out the dis- play on one end, with the Clarkonians monopolising the attention at the other end. Edith Castello and Charles Rooney lagged through some bare- back riding without starting anything, and next came the Huling Brothers with a double seal act for both stages. The Huling animals pulled a hit. The stereoptyped routine of juggling, to- gether with a minute or two at the musical Instruments, sufficed to bring the seals over nicely, and they made their exit to big applause. The sixth display brought out the Five Alpines, Tow Kanajawa and Guam Roderegas in this ring. The work was rather fast to watch, and while there was nothing of an unusual nature in either exhibit, the trio of acts went over. On Stage One, Melnotte and La Nole operated on the unsupported ladders, a sort of workout for their specialty which came later on in another ring. Albert Hodglni engineered the "High School" horses in this ring during the next display, after which the banner layout of the evening was ushered in. On the stage Joe La Fleur and his dog held sway, finishing with the high dive to a mat below, whereon he alighted to a handstand. The ring- master thought enough of La Flour's feature to make an announcement, one of the only two made during the even- ing. Gud. Mijares, a Mexican athlete, struggled through an uninteresting se- ries of handstands on a pedestal in the ring, while in still another sec- tion two Japs (Towkanasawa and Uki Hay a take) offered the customary foot juggling and balancing. This passed unnoticed because of bigger features in other parts of the arena. Charles Rooney returned next to the first ring for a series of bareback tricks that were eclipsed by the speed of his partner in the adjoining ring. The next display brought out the Hines-Klmball Troupe in the ring and the Florenze Family on the stage. The latter act went big. The Hines- Kimballs seemed content to fill the time without attempting anything ex- traordinary- They filled in nicely. Following came the wire artists with two sister acts in this ring—the Ty- bell Sisters, numbering three, and the Richards Sisters, a team. Both turns got over easily. Incidentally, either would fit vaudeville. The next dis- play consisted of comedy acts. The stage held Burns, Brown and Burns with a comedy bar specialty that bears a striking resemblance to the Camille Trio in construction. For rough knockabouts they did well. The aerial display brought out Yontello and Nina and the Two Nelsons south of the ring, while over the stage the Aerial Crom- wells presented their routine. Eight turns took up this section of the show, all finishing with a breakaway rope ladder, making a sort of semi-sensa- tional finish that brought some ap- plause. The Hodge Sisters are pro- gramed as German. They juggle va- rious articles while riding bareback, showing exceptional skill in this line. This should be a find for vaudeville. Inasmuch as the sisters have a novelty, if it could be properly staged. The finish came with the Soaring Richards Sisters in Ring One. Three acts make up the layout, each presenting the same routine, being swung around the arena on wires held in their teeth. The costumes filled out the picture. RING TWO. The star herd of the Ringling ele- phants opened in Ring Two, directed by George Denman. The fact that Denman's troupe had the smallest an- imals carried most of the attention to his display. The Clarkonians oper- ated over the second stage with their flying trapeze, and were the undis- puted hit of the evening. The flier has wisely eliminated the easier stunts and starts off with a series of double twists to the catcher that compel ap- plause. And it might be added this particular Clarkonian is some show- man. The pair were applauded all through their specialty. In the ring the Original Miss Daisy (who looked more like a Mr. Daisy—probably Daisy Hodglni—inasmuch as the artist is . undoubtedly a man) went through some bareback stunts that copped a big hit. "Daisy" at this line was one of the best performers in the show. J. Mijares on the slack wire is far from what the Ringlings claim him to be. Mijares does well, work- ing straight, but his swinging flnlsn falls considerably short of "great." Fuku and Hayatske (if they were the two Japs on Stage Two) did quite well, now and then earning applause. John Agie had the horses in the next display. Agie has the best troupe in the show. The turn is billed as a "Brewery Act." At the finish a large wagon is brought on with three giant bottomless vats lying sideways on top. The trio of horses (Shumann's, likely) under Agio's direction jump through the vats while the wagon is in motion, and for a finish jump into them to be carted out of the ring. The act (for- merly with the Barnum show) is good from every standpoint. The Two Franks (man and woman) worked in the ring with a nifty little hand-bal- ancing and acrobatic turn. The team • dress neatly and have arranged a pro- gram of excellent tricks. One of the big features worked on the stage. Carlos Caesaro is the act, and to him went one of the two an- nouncements by the ringmaster (Joe Fleur was also announced). Caesaro is a weight lifter. He juggles can- non balls and the many other light- heavy articles, finishing when a heavy piece of apparatus Is lowered from the roof of the arena and strapped about his body. His assistant climbs into the machine (better title than appa- ratus) and a spring is set which re- volves the' young man around at a terrific speed. Caesaro is strong and looks the part. He, too, would fit in vaudeville and should do quite as well there as he did at the Coliseum. John Rooney monopolized the next display with a series of bareback tricks, after which another of the big features was presented in the Six Cas- trillon Troupe. The sextet, arrayed in bright red costumes, work on the or- der of the Florenze Family, who held another stage at the same time. Five men and one woman make up the troupe, who specialize in various twists and turns from ground to shoul- ders, etc. This, too, would make a good closer for a big time vaudeville show. The Alpine Family worked in Ring Two during the wire display. The Alpines are nicely costumed and have perfected a good layout of wire feats. The family consists of two males and three girls. Skipping rope on the wire was the feature trick. They did finely. In the comedy section the Mardo Trio had a good knockabout act on the stage next to this ring. They en- tertained nicely and scored a hit. In the aerial display the Flying Wards and the Two Franks held the* positions over the center ring. The Wards were evidently the feature, and well deserved to be. The drop at the finale made a good closer and brought them to the ground a big hit. The Franks, with similar routine, also scored. The next number introduced the class of the circus in the Riding Roo- neys. John Rooney has combined both class and ability in his trap act. It's the niftiest the Ringlings ever carried. Miss Rooney filled out the offering with some nimble work on the horse, while the bulk of the heavy work fel to the two men. Mr. Rooney has pro- duced something worth while in his line, and deserves much credit. The Tybell Sisters had the banner spot in the finale, working over the center ring. The girls cavorted about in the air, suspended by wires held in their teeth, and in all made a pretty spectacle. RING THREE. Albert Nelson sent the elephants in this ring through a similar routine produced by the other two herds. Josie Clarke opened with her bare- back riding, getting through princi- pally on appearance. Miss Clarke is a trifle younger than her competitors in this display, and because of this is sure of applause. She did quite well without showing anything out of the ordinary. John Foley had the six performing horses in the fifth number, after which the Hlnes Duo and Uki Hayatake held the ring for a brief spell of ground work. The Hines team have a good turn in their breakaway ladder offer- ing, the finish going over big. Denne Curtis directed the horses in the next spell, when in order came Paul Minno and Matsu Yamada, the former a contortionist and the latter a Jap who does a balancing specialty. Minno corralled the applause down his street Next came Percy Clarke aboard the saddleless horse with the customary bareback series of stunts. In the ac- robatic section De Mora and Gracetla held the ring at the north end. The couple are excellent at their line and carried the applause well up from the center of the house. They show a great improvement over past seasons and have now perfected- a routine that should go anywhere. The Melnotte- Lanole Troupe shared the north ring with the Fanchon Troupe, but the ap- plause came without sharing. They were easily the best of the wire artists in the exhibition. Jumping over sev- eral chairs, etc., fill out their feature tricks, and they closed to solid ap- plause, one of the few big hits of the evening. (It would have been to everyone's advantage, of course, had they been given the center ring to work in.) The Kimball Sisters and The La- fayettes in the layout of aerialists did nicely, especially the former. The same routine was shown in all parts of the house at the same time, but because of the Kimballs being the only "girl act" in sight they drew the bulk of the applause. The Castellos offered something out of the beaten path in the way of ac- robatic work on a horse. The female member came in for much noise be- cause of her good worjt. The Flying Minerva Sisters completed the enter- tainment in this section, going through a routine similar to that of- fered by the Tybell Girls and The Sis- ters Richards. Wynn.