Q&A: Cal McCrystal
New from Spiegelworld, the makers of Absinthe and Opium, comes Atomic Saloon Show, a raucous Western-themed variety romp in a unique environment at The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo. This production promises to set itself apart for many reasons, including the selection of Cal McCrystal as director. The British actor, writer and director has left his mark in Las Vegas before as part of the original creative team behind Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. With Atomic Saloon Show, he’s adding some signature spark to Spiegelworld’s style.
What was it like to debut Atomic Saloon Show at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe before bringing it to the Strip?
There’s something very special about the festival. In a way, it’s the biggest trade fair in the world and there’s definitely a buzz there. I’ve done a lot of shows there and what you can do is build it up to be a very confident piece of work after 30 days, so where you take it, it’s very robust and it knows what it is. And you inherit a lot of energy from the pulse of the festival.
Is it true this show was inspired by The Venetian venue?
Completely. It was surprising to find this hidden jewel (on the Strip) and when I was asked to have a look at it, the first thing I said was that it looked like a theater in the old Wild West, or like the saloon in Destry Rides Again. It seemed like a very American thing and I thought, “I’d love to do a sexy Western show in there with a madam who’s a bit of a disciplinarian and these young, gorgeous people who can’t seem to get out of her clutches.”
Clearly you were on the same page with Spiegelworld from the very beginning.
I think Speigelworld and I are quite a good fit. Because I’ve made the show from scratch, it’s got a lot of my aesthetic, and it’s a very warm show, very funny and sexy, but it also has a heart to it. I’m a big fan of Absinthe and Opium, but this does feel different and that’s a good thing, because nobody wants to make the same show twice. Each show is an opportunity to find something different and bring out new performers and create an original piece of work.
Those shows are known for being some of the funniest productions on the Strip. Is comedy a big part of Atomic Saloon Show?
I don’t think there’s anything anywhere near this show. It’s very unique even though it’s built on a foundation of cliché. It’s not just Americans that hold the Western genre near to their hearts; the whole world does. For me, the most remarkable thing that I’m most happy about is that I’ve never done a show where every single character gets laughs, and with this show I’ve done it. You don’t often see sexy and funny together where they don’t undermine each other, but it’s all working together really well.
You’ve spent a lot of time in Vegas while launching this show. Have you discovered or learned anything new during this project?
I am very fond of Las Vegas. I’ve spent quite a bit of time here over the years and I feel like it’s a much nicer place to live than to visit. I love how peaceful Vegas is just minutes from the Strip. And everyone you bump into is in a show.
The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian & The Palazzo, 7 & 9 p.m. Sun. & Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Mon.-Tues., $74.12-$139.52 plus tax and fee, 18+. 702.414.9000