Entendres, double and single


Review: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Zumanity’ in Las Vegas

Zumanity - Cirque du SoleilYou don’t watch a Cirque du Soleil performance as much as experience it. “Zumanity” seems to cater to our basest desires, for better or for worse.

As a bonus from BlogWorld 2009 in Las Vegas, attendees could request a free Cirque du Soleil ticket from any of five shows in exchange for a review. I attended the Sunday evening perforamnce at the New York New York Hotel.

Cirque fans know the standing elements: innovative acrobatics, glitzy costumes, live music and a touch of whimsy. But what if the suggestive moves went over the top? What if what everyone’s really thinking becomes the show itself? “Zumanity” goes there.

The 90-minute romp goes Vegas with partial and full nudity, some Vaudeville numbers and sexually charged gymnastics. Leading the way is Edie (pictured at left), Mistress of Sensuality, who introduces and narrates the themes, like first love and bondage.

Some acrobatics were breathtaking, like the pair of nymphs tumbling over each other in a giant water bowl. Others merely filled time, like the schoolgirl twirling rings or the contortionist who seemed oddly out of place in a sex-themed show.

Video: Splish, splash

And a couple of numbers managed to push buttons. The audience member next to me recoiled when two male performers launched into a surprise passionate kiss. I was no less horrified when one female performer simulated the joys of auto-erotic asphyxiation, a dangerous and potentially lethal act.

When I mentioned experiencing a show, I meant it. From the pre-show through the penultimate number, audience members were teased, queried and led onstage to take part in the carnival of fun.

“Zumanity” aspires no higher than to sex up a standard Cirque show. More raunchy than clever, the sensual theme seems like an excuse for skimpy (or no) costumes rather than a deeper exploration of our hidden desires. Sure, the performances can be provocative and sometimes inspiring, but like some one-night stands, you might have regrets the next morning.

“Zumanity” runs two performances five nights a week at the New York New York Hotel in Las Vegas. Tickets, $69-$135, can be purchased online or at the box office.

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