Review Of Zumanity

Playing in the ZUMANITY Theatre at the New York-New York
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Updated 02/17/2006

Zumanity

By Chuck Rounds

"Zumanity: another side of Cirque du Soleil" is playing inside the New York-New York Hotel & Casino. It is an exploration of sex and sexuality, and the range and depth of this exploration is wonderful. This production bears all of the classic trademarks of a Cirque extravaganza, but is the first time that the company has dealt with the exploration of human sexuality. "Zumanity's" look at love, sensuality and eroticism, in all its forms, is ultimately a story of human emotion, the nature of beauty, and the acceptance of differences. It crosses many barriers---barriers of age, race, gender, and preferences.

The show has certainly changed since it was first opened several years ago. It is almost a completely new show, and for the most part, I like it a lot better. It flows much better, there is a cohesiveness, and a much better picture overall. The continual evaluation of the production that had been promised by the producers has really provided some very positive results. There are some acts that have been changed out that Iíll miss, but overall, it is a better production.

"Zumanity" is not going to be a production for everyone. Their investigation of sexuality is quite frank and could be off-putting to some. Not everyone is going to be comfortable seeing strapped on phalluses or two men lovingly wrestling with each other, etc., but it is a legitimate part of this production.

The transformation of the showroom at NY- NY has been done brilliantly. The theatre and the setting are beautiful. It looks like the circus has met the Moulin Rouge. The audience surrounds a thrust stage that juts out into the space, creating a greater sense of intimacy. People sit much closer to the stage--causing there to be a much strong actor/audience relationship. Interaction is encouraged, and the performers always know that the audience is there. The lobby of the theatre has a lot of surprises, too. It is worth taking the time to walk around prior to the show.

The show starts off wonderfully and continues to build throughout the production. Most of the acts are brilliant and amazing. The acts entitled "hoops," "straps," "dislocation," and the "dance on TV" inform us, excite us, and allow us to feel this aspect of exploring human sensuality. The show is sexy, provocative and challenging. It awakens the most primal urges to a new form of eroticism that blends movement, acrobatics and beautiful bodies with the sensual caress of the human voice and the insistent pulse of exotic rhythms.

The final act of the show is entitled, "Orgy," which is, unfortunately, unsatisfying. It is a piece in which the company involves the audience in group moans and breathing, but like all fake orgasms, leaves you wanting so much more.

I applaud the efforts of the producers---always looking to refine, change and improve the show. It has certainly come a long way since its opening. The setting and the theatre are wonderful. The performers, as in all of the Cirque productions, are brilliant. The theme is strong and bears further exploration, and Las Vegas certainly has a need for this production. The creators of "Zumanity" have a lot of be proud of with this show. You can visit them on their website at Zumanity.com, or call them at 866.606.7111.


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