Beyond comedy and burlesque, it’s acrobatics that keep ‘Absinthe’ flying high
What the human body is capable of is beyond belief. Watching a performer push his strength to the limit is a suspenseful and beautiful act, one part of the theatrical tradition we call spectacle. Absinthe at Caesars Palace, a variety show with touches of vaudeville, burlesque and circus acts, delivers moment after moment of such spectacle.
Host The Gazillionaire and assistant Joy Jenkins deliver bits of R- and sometimes X-rated comedy. The Green Fairy, portrayed by singer Melody Sweets, tap-dancing duo Sean and Scott and bubble girl Charlie Starling all shine, but it’s the feats of strength that grab a whole other side of your attention.
Building a mountain out of chairs is the stuff of dreams, but just such an act opens the show. On a small circular stage in the theater-in-the-round, just a couple of feet from the front row, are the acrobat Ruslan, a table and a chair. As a clock ticks by, he stacks chair upon chair, balancing in precarious positions until he adds a final eighth chair and looks down upon the audience from a handstand at the top.
“I don’t want to drop all the chairs,” said Ruslan, who grew up performing with his family’s world-traveling circus. “It’s very risky; I’m always concentrating. It sounds crazy, but I like risk. You get all these feelings when you’re up there. You’re also having fun.”
Delivering another fierce balancing act is the four-man team Atlantis. Perched on top of one another—imagine a human totem pole—the four acrobats fluidly use their strength and flexibility to create different poses while precariously balancing on hands, feet, legs and even heads.
Hoop aerialist Lea Hinz and straps aerialists Alexa and Ming show off the beauty and precision of balancing acrobatics in the air. Both twist into various positions while hanging not only by their hands, but by their other limbs, too. Hinz carefully and precisely balances her body from the hoop by just the back of her neck. Ming holds a strap while, on his feet, seemingly and effortlessly balancing Alexa horizontally.
Another act that pushes the limits of human strength and makes the audience collectively gasp is Duo Février. From a small platform 15 feet in the air, the two women perform cradle acrobatics—think trapeze act where one is the catcher and one the flier. There is no harness connected to either performer, upping the risk factor. While Duo Février shows strength in the air, Duo Vector displays strength on the stage, performing hand-to-hand acrobatics. The two men display incredible skill, using only the might of their muscles to morph their bodies into balanced poses that seem incomprehensible.
It’s for the best that Absinthe is truly intoxicating, letting the entertainment value override the understanding of how the acrobatic acts are performed with such grace, ease and perfection. The greatest tricks are the ones left unexplained.
Caesars Palace, 8 & 10 p.m. Wed.-Sun., $99-$134 VIP plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster