By Chuck Rounds
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"Absinthe" is playing in a tent structure just outside the front of Caesars Palace. This is a wild, raunchy, outrageous spectacle filled with outstanding talent and brilliance. This is an R-rated circus burlesque show that constantly walks the edge between the unacceptable and the barely acceptable...it is great. It is a relaxed, unrefined, and comfortable indulgence that shouldn't be missed. The acts of this circus are all wonderful, and the seating in the round offers an "in your face" relationship to the performers. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much and was amazed so often.
"Absinthe" is performed in the round with unobstructed sightlines and in intimate proximity of the world-class artists performing amazing feats of strength, balance, danger and unfathomable flexibility. It is truly thrilling to watch some of these acts. You envision all that can go wrong, and you see their death and injury in your mind, but the skill of these performers is astonishing. They take their skill and their art right to the edge, and they captivate us in the audience.
The host of the night's frivolities is "The Gazillionaire." He comes out looking and acting like a bad stereotype of a '70's lounge lizard. My initial feeling was that I was going to hate this guy, but I was so wrong. His comedy and timing were masterful, and he played the audience beautifully. His assistant is "Penny"---a very quirky and comical woman, whose sock puppet intro of an act steals the show. What is so great about these hosts is that, just like the performers of the acts, always take their work right to the edge. It is not overdone and never gets tiring. All of the comedy is definitely geared to adults, and if you're offended by it, then as in the words of the Gazillionaire, "You're in the wrong f**king show."
Each of the acts is very impressive. Starting with a chair balancing act and the hand vaulting, the show got off to a terrific start...only to be further propelled by the balloon act. The standing trapeze act was one of the best I have ever seen, and the roller-skating couple was just amazing. The hand-balancing act, the high-wire...all of the acts were just superior and wonderful to watch.
This is the third time that I've seen the show, and I'm just as thrilled with the production as I was when I saw it for the first time. I already want to go back and see it again.
If you like the circus, but are tired of Cirque, then go and see this show. If you want to see and adult themed show, but don't want to a topless review, then go see this show. I could go on and on...I could continue to gush about this show, but the bottom line is that it is a wonderful show filled with outrageousness...and you should go and see it.