If you adore Cirque du Soleil acrobatics but accept they’d be alike bigger with bedraggled jokes, again “Absinthe” is the aftereffect you’ve been cat-and-mouse for.
Playing city in a covering at L.A. Live, “Absinthe” is a touring adaptation of the politically incorrect, gymnastically absorbing comedy by the assembly aggregation Spiegelworld arena at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for aing to six years. The show’s steampunk artful and caricatural and bazaar acts arm-twist the cabarets of late-19th aeon Europe — the heyday of absinthe bubbler — but abide primarily to accomplish fun of Cirque du Soleil.
“Absinthe” gain from the acceptance that we abide Cirque’s haute-culture accouterment and cryptic adumbration — that French-Canadian clutter — alone so that we can watch attractive bodies baffle afterlife in ually evocative positions.
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And the show’s emcee and (fictive) impresario, an adipose carper accepted as the Gazillionaire, is alone too blessed to accord us what he’s abiding we want. His changeable acrobats dress like strippers in delicate lingerie, chains accessory and cheerleader outfits. The men whip off their shirts mid-air to betrayal belly anatomy of aberrant intricacy. Pair stunts are choreographed like able-bodied foreplay and accomplish in amorous kisses.
The admirers is built-in so deeply about the 9-foot annular date that bodies in the advanced row are brash not to angle up during assertive acts lest they get kicked in the face. The adumbrated account is an bare appearance of every appendage and divot in the skin-tight singlets. Lest this ringside advantage be overlooked, the Gazillionaire and his ditzy, bawdy sidekick, Daisy Dibbles, draw common absorption to that.
The acrobatic aptitude is impressive, alike to those for whom the stunts are familiar. You accept your armchair stacker (who works after spilling absinthe from a canteen on a tray), your leash of muscle-bound Russians flipping a abate analogue into the air, your aerialist (who dangles out of a behemothic artificial bubble), your macho gymnasts addled in bike on the alongside bars.
These stunts assume riskier actuality than in added venues because of their adjacency to the admirers and the show’s condescending attitude against banausic rules and regulations. Before the activity begins, the Gazillionaire recites “the assurance crap” in a annotation that drips with antipathy for anybody who would decay anticipation on such trivialities back there are annealed drinks to be downed and those bulges to ogle. (One of his declared objectives is to get the admirers “nice and drunk,” and a banknote bar is set up appropriate in the achievement space.)
In conceivably the best animating stunt, a “priest” and a “nun” in roller skates band to their underwear and circuit in apprenticed circles to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.” At one point the nun is upside down, her anxiety apprenticed to the priest’s neck, her arch a atom of inch aloft the stage, her activity — as able-bodied as that of the bodies in the advanced row — terrifyingly at the benevolence of centrifugal and centripetal forces.
In a analogously annoying moment, stagehands appear into the admirers to install alongside confined on the stage. They barrel abroad chairs that accept been apparent “reserved,” advertisement holes in the floor, area they attach braiding anchors. I was sitting aing to one of the aloof seats. As the stagehand knelt beside me, winching chains and blubbering into a headset, I had the appetite to ask, “Is that actuality done to code, adolescent man?”
This wasn’t the alone time “Absinthe” angry me into a bad-tempered old woman, sourly celebratory the alertness about me. The show’s amusement is of the keep-going-until-they’re-cringing brand. The Gazillionaire and Daisy don’t aloof accomplish begrimed animadversion in passing; they stop to beautify and adorn them, beating them relentlessly home. Once in a while they accomplish that phenomenon whereby, through adamant repetition, article actual unfunny becomes funny. Their cleverest cardinal is a sendup of Cirque du Soleil, in which they accomplish a clumsily emo ballet together.
More often, that phenomenon eludes them. Gaz (as the appearance is affectionately accepted in Sin City) is an insult banana who spends a lot of time singling out admirers associates for apology based on their ethnicity (at one point application an elaborately bad Chinese emphasis to abode an Asian person) and accepted uality. The aim seems to be to shock us with no-holds-barred talk, trading in stereotypes. But the best abominable affair about this actual is how annoyed and anachronous it seems.
“Absinthe” is actuality for a “limited engagement.” How bound may depend on whether L.A. audiences can alcohol abundant to get into the show’s spirit and still drive home afterward. (They can’t aloof cycle on bottomward the Vegas Strip.) “Absinthe” may accomplish berserk here, but from my point of view, what works in Vegas can break in Vegas.
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Where: L.A. Live accident deck, 1005 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: $49 and up
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
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