The in-house ads for Mystère (Miss-tair) once said “Words don’t do it justice,” and for once, that’s not just hype. Simply calling it a circus is like calling the Hope Diamond a gem or the Taj Mahal a building. It’s accurate but, as the ad says, doesn’t begin to do it justice.
The first (and some would still say the best) of the multiple Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil productions is the closest to the original ethos of the Montréal-based company’s unique circus experience, which not only shuns traditional animal acts in favor of gorgeous feats of human strength and agility, but also adds elements of the surreal and the absurd.
While part of the fun of the early Cirque was seeing what amazing stuff they could do on a shoestring, seeing what they can do with virtually unlimited funds in a custom-built theater is spectacular. It’s an incredible space with an enormous dome and superhydraulics that allow the Cirque performers to fly in space. Or so it seems.
The show features one simply unbelievable act after another (seemingly boneless contortionists and acrobats, breathtakingly beautiful aerial maneuvers), interspersed with Dadaist/Commedia dell’arte clowns, and everyone clad in costumes like nothing you’ve ever seen before. All this and a giant snail!
The show is dreamlike, suspenseful, funny, erotic, mesmerizing, and just lovely. At times, you might even find yourself moved to tears. For some children, however, it might be a bit too sophisticated and arty. Even if you’ve seen Cirque before, this show is worth checking out, thanks to the large production values. It’s a world-class show, no matter where it’s playing. That this arty and intellectual show is playing in Vegas is astonishing.