Las Vegas – The Shows

While much of this narrative is coming out more negative than intended, there were definite charms to Las Vegas, beginning with the shows. Though the Venetian pumps out Phantom music ad nauseum (it houses the Vegas version of Phantom of the Opera) and from every possible outlet (elevator, hallway, gondola rides, Canal shops, even the street outside), there is more to be seen, including several Cirque de Soleil productions.

For our first show we saw ‘Le Reve’ at the Wynn, a hybrid of water and aerials (and not technically affiliated with Cirque de Soleil), and its intimate seating arrangement and dynamic production was an inspiration.

The next night I took in its pre-cursor, ‘O’at the Bellagio – actually quite a different animal entirely. While ‘Le Reve’ was impressive in its acrobatic aqua-technics, ‘O’ burned with a more resonant and haunting flame, weaving a dream-like hypnotic state in its wake. Both were a thrill to behold, but while billed as a night of theater, that emotional push and pull of a proper play or musical was somewhat lacking.

These are spectacles – you may marvel and gasp at some of the physical antics and visual tricks, but there is little to tug at the heart or challenge the head. Like the city they inhabit, there is a façade of glamorous tendencies that, if one isn’t careful, can seem like a lot, but in the end there is little substance behind it, except what you bring to the table. Sometimes that’s money, and sometimes that’s meaning.

The visuals are indeed a sight to see, though, so the best way to enjoy them is to take them in as a thing of beauty, one of the delights of Las Vegas – fleeting, superficial, and just dazzling enough to make it worthwhile – once.

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