Published on January 18th, 2013 | by Greg
Absinthe: A Las Vegas Tour De Weird
Last week, we visited Las Vegas for the annual gadgetfest otherwise known as CES. And while most of the trip consisted of business meetings and the usual Vegas hotel-and-casino fun, we found time to make this convention visit a bit less, well, conventional. One evening, we stopped by Caesar’s Palace, and entered the large tent that currently a large area right next to the Strip. Billed as an adult variety act, we were anxious to see one of the newer shows in Sin City and see how it stacked up against some of the others that we’ve seen, like those at the Wynn and the long-running Phantom show formerly at The Venetian.
The name of the show is Absinthe, and it’s aptly titled. The immediate impression as you step into the tent is something close to a steampunk one-ring circus- every seat has a great view, and the cast performs directly in front (and occasionally right above) the audience. A packed house on our night led to some fun exchanges, thanks to the very lewd and crude comedy that managed to hilariously offend everyone from the “token minorities” to the older gentleman with his younger wife.
It starts off with a bang, with the first act being perhaps the most memorable of the evening. Running about an hour and a half, there’s barely a moment wasted, with little time spared even for transitions. And lest you compare this to the now-it’s-everywhere Cirque, the performers here do a good job of skewering their Canadian competition while offering a lot more ribaldry (if a little less imagination and a lot less whimsy). We’ve seen multiple Cirque shows in the past, and this one is certainly different, closer perhaps to Teatro ZinZanni but with far more explicit and raunchy humor and with a few solid burlesque performances that certainly aren’t for kids.
The cast is overall solid, though the acrobats do tend to blend together, and we have seen a roller-skating-pair-in-a-tight-circle before. But the stunts still impress even a jaded Vegas crowd, and we certainly had never seen anyone insert themselves and then jump around inside of a translucent bubbly balloon. We doubt you’ll want to buy the soundtrack, or bring your mother- but you’ll almost certainly want to bring your friends. The Gazillionaire and Penny are perfect, and you can’t help but duck your head as you’re mere feet from the action. Get up close, and very personal!