One of the shows we got to check out when we were in Las Vegas was the current production of ABSINTHE (1). Absinthe is a in the United States illegal spirit which has been associated with violet, crazy behavior and with having hallucinogenic tendencies. Even though absinthe has been consumed for greater than the last 200 years, the jury is still out on its exact effects.
The show ABSINTHE, playing in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace’s Spiegelworld, had a similar effect on this audience member. All the disjointed interruptions in the flow of the show and unnecessary vile language caught me unawares. Put rather simply ABSINTHE has been described as Cirque du Soleil meets “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I’d take it one step further and call it Cirque du Soleil meets Morton Downey Jr. The shows narrative, by ‘The Producer – The Gazillionaire” and his intellectually-vacant assistant Penny was a hodgepodge of petty insults, offensive language, and inarticulate mumbo-jumbo. The impressive acrobatics which the performers of the show engaged made the emcee and his assistant only mildly more tolerable.
What did really work very well was the impressive lineup of very talented acrobats. These are people who could take your Bob Harper abs DVD’s and shred him into little bits. These acrobats did things that were obviously made more impressive by the close proximity of their actions. What before you’d seen in a full-sized circus tent at an airfield, in Las Vegas is in a black box theatre in the round. The audience in the front row is quite literally inches from the action; if you come to ABSINTHE, get on line early and make sure you get in close to the front.
Some of the more memorable moves included the man who could stack a dozen chairs on two legs in different formations upward to the top of the tent and then get to the top of his chair creation and do a handstand on a single hand while keeping their chair structure in place.
Another of the impressive acrobat moves were the guy and girl who stood on a very small circular platform on roller skates and spin each other around. This is not just twirling on the skates but grabbing one another by the waist and gradually spinning together, faster and faster, like a top. Then, once they’ve had their fill of that spin move, they both don a connected neck harness and the guy lifts the girl,as he’s spinning, in the air by his neck! Then she begins spinning independent of his spin; as though she were a drill! This girl spins and spins and spins and neither of them are using their hands! All the impetus for her movement and her staying horizontal in the air came from the strength of this guy’s neck and his continued spinning on his skates.
The acrobats in this show worked really well but there were a couple of problems as I saw it. The first of these being a story. There is no cohesive story to get the action going and keep people interested in these amazing acrobats. In the very beginning a guy stumbles out onto the stage and takes a shot of Absinthe. The whole rest of the show is supposed to be maybe what happens to him during this time? I could see that being a logical story; if they ever got back to that. It just never really came up again. At the end of some of the amazing acrobat moves the gymnasts do they all take a shot of some clear liquid; was this supposed to be the gel that kept this story together? Were all the gymnasts partaking in the drink? I didn’t get it.
Anyway a hinting at a story in the beginning doesn’t take away from all the maddening in-action of the emcee and Penny. The two of them are telling dirty jokes about audience members, insulting every political, religious, socio-economic group and sexual orientation in the book. Do they think that because there is a bar in the back of the room that everyone is drinking? Did I need alcohol to enjoy this show? I wish I’d known.
I don’t need some bawdy, loud-mouthed emcee telling me his problems with everyone in the world and forcing juvenile, bathroom humor on me. I was here to enjoy a show and I did. I would have enjoyed the show a whole lot more if some of the droning humor was eaten up and we could have seen more of these impressive acrobats.
Absinthe is GENERAL ADMISSION. If you’ve got a large party you should show up early and get in line.