Step right up, folks! Circus Vargas is back

Circus Vargas is back in the South Bay. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

All aboard for the “Circus Vargas Express”

Thrills and chills under the big top

by Bondo Wyszpolski

The pandemic hasn’t been kind to traveling shows of any sort (when was the last time you saw an ad for Cirque du Soleil?), but there’s been a gradual comeback, and among those who’ve taken to the road again is Circus Vargas, which has a long history of coming to and performing in the South Bay.

The company is now back in town for a couple more weeks, and the current show, themed as “The Circus Vargas Express,” is simply entertaining from start to finish.

Circus Vargas performing in Torrance. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

The narrative begins with passengers stepping down from a train, and it ends with them climbing back on board. The passengers, of course, are the stars of what we’re about to see.

As I learned prior to walking in, “This production is meant to depict the brotherhood of sorts that circus people have. Circus gets in your blood.” Circus people “belong to an entity that has no cultural, racial or religious classification or characterization.”

The show begins. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

We go to the circus to laugh, to be astonished, delighted and thrilled, and what I like about this rendition is that the acts are uniformly engaging, the performers attractive and personable: You’ll even find many of them working the ticket booth and the concession stands both before the show and during intermission. It’s a family-run operation and there’s a very good vibe about it.

Also, unlike other fairground amusements of this type, Circus Vargas doesn’t run down the clock with a lot of silly clown nonsense. That’s kind of what Paranormal Cirque did a couple of months back when they rolled into town. Sure, there are some silly bits here, but it’s not overdone, and mostly occurs while props are being wheeled in or out of the ring. These folks are efficient with their time and ours.

Grace and elegance at Circus Vargas. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

The acts vary from juggling, contortion, and balancing to highwire and a “death defying” motorcycle finale, with three bikes zigzagging inside of a metal sphere at what seems like an insane speed.

This is a casual, relaxed, stress-free experience, the tent set up in the mall parking lot with plenty of free public parking nearby. It may not be as sophisticated as Cirque du Soleil, but it’s far more intimate and less expensive. If you’re looking for an enjoyable family outing, here you go. I had a great time.

Don’t let this one walk away without you. Photo by Bondo Wyszpolski

Circus Vargas performs through Monday, Nov. 7, at Del Amo Fashion Center, 3525 W. Carson St. (next to Madrona Ave.), in Torrance. There are shows almost every weeknight, with three shows on Saturday and Sundays (details on their website). Tickets for adults range from $75 to $29, and for children $65 to $19. They’re available at the box office, by calling (877) 468-3861, or online at ER


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