TO MAY 12

Priding itself on being the last circus to forgo a daily horse-drawn parade and the last to give up the rails for the roads, the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus has a long history as a big-top holdout. Not only does it claim to be the largest circus still tented, the firm that once boasted the appearance of “Big Otto, Blood-Sweating Hippopotamus From the River Nile” and billed Beatty as “Battling Snarling, Roaring, Man-Eating Wild Animals From Plain, Desert, Plateau, and Jungle” insists that even in this litigious age its shows contain actual life-and-limb-threatening danger. Perhaps aware of the industry’s reputation for inflated claims, Cole Bros. backs up the hype by illustrating its program with a snapshot of luckless former human cannonball Elvin Bale posed in his wheelchair with current projectile Sean Thomas (pictured above in happier circumstances—i.e., before he lands). But the scariest segment may well prove to be that portion of the clowns’ act devoted to “Dental Hygenic Hi-Jinx.” Hide your eyes and plug your ears when the drilling starts at 4:30 & 7:30 p.m. Friday; at 1:30, 4:30, & 7:30 p.m. Saturday; at 1:30 & 4:30 p.m Sunday at Lake Braddock Secondary School, 9200 Burke Lake Rd., Burke. $10. (703) 978-0405. (Glenn Dixon)

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