‘Mystére’ is a never-ending story
Cirque du Soleil is all about moments. It may be just one moment in any of its six Las Vegas Strip productions, perhaps not even the most iconic imagery associated with that particular show, but it’s unforgettable all the same. And isolating a single scene—and thinking about it for days afterward—can really make one appreciate the exhaustive artistry injected into every detail.
Cirque du Soleil’s Mystére celebrated its 25th anniversary in Las Vegas at Treasure Island in December. While the resort has changed ownership a few times, adjusted its offerings and generally evolved into a much different destination than when it was new, Mystére has persevered along its original path, never needing a wholesale renovation. It is the foundation for the entertainment empire Cirque du Soleil has built on the Strip, the first permanent installation that set an original trend and forever altered Las Vegas and theater in general.
Because it was the first, and because so many Vegas visitors have seen it and the other Cirque shows multiple times over, it would be easy to expect a sense of familiarity and not boldness or bewilderment. But that is the monumental magic of Mystére: Its mix of otherworldly staging, astounding acrobatics and circus arts, whimsical comedy and ethereal live music and dance never gets old or feels tired, and in fact the viewer will discover brilliant new elements every time.
The cast of 65 has seen some change over the years but many of the original acts remain, though most have seen subtle change. The latest additions include the duo straps act, a male and female aerial choreography duo that soars over the wide-eyed audience, and the updated planche act, where speedy performers catapult each other on a new teeterboard and dash, flip and spin across the multi-trampoline power track.
But the Chinese poles act might be the best example of the uncanny way Cirque du Soleil builds layer upon layer of action and artfulness into every scene. It begins when troupes of characters begin to climb and balance on the tall pyramid of precarious poles, feats on the edge of amazing, but they’re only the beginning. Suddenly, the fantastically creepy Double Faces descend from above at the rear stage, which has opened up to seemingly expand this comfortable, 1,600-seat theater into some sort of panoramic portal into another dimension. These playful figures join the other acrobats but move up and down the poles in a fashion all their own, telling a story with movement, grace and strength. Eventually the mischievous Yellow Bird finds his place in this cinematic marvel, a lofty perch atop this temple of excellence, and you realize there is too much happening, you’ve missed something, and you’ll need to see the show again.
Mystére is one of the most family-friendly and all-ages-appropriate offerings among Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas shows and on the Strip in general, and it easily remains every bit the must-see experience it was 25 years ago. Go back now and feel it for yourself.
Treasure Island, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Sat.-Wed., $69-$125 plus tax and fee. 702.894.7722