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By Chuck Rounds
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"Ovation" is now playing at the Ovation theatre inside the Aladdinís Desert Passage. It is another variety show brought to you by David Saxe; who also produces "V: the Ultimate Variety Show." There are, apparently, so many variety acts in town looking for work that multiple shows can be created just from these acts. It is a great concept that has really taken off, and if you donít like what you see, then wait ten minutes.
Variety acts have traditionally been front of curtain act breaks to give the audience something to watch while the main show gets a break or manages some huge set change. The main goal of the variety act is to quickly engage and capture the audience for a ten-minute amusement. Most of these acts have always been a side note to the main production, and the idea of creating a full show of these acts brings about a production that is always engaging, fast paced, and fun.
Both "V" and "Ovation" follow the same formatóa host entertains us and brings out one variety act after another. Each act shows some skill, craft, talent, ťlan and all are entertaining in one way or another. Saxe has done a great job at finding and putting all of these acts together. A lot of entertainers have been put to work because of these shows.
However...even though "Ovation" and "V" follow the same format, and both have comparable talent, somehow "Ovation" comes across as the poor relation to "V." Perhaps itís just the setting...the former Sevilla nightclub doesnít work as well as a theatre as the C2K showroom at the Venetian. The (now) Ovation theatre lacks focus and a lot of the support facilities. Everything in the space feels temporary...the stage, the seats, the lighting rig... It has a feeling that is less then top-notch professional. That sort of, "hey, my dad has a barn, letís put on a show" feeling.
Each of the acts are comprised of performers with great skill, and we are amazed by their abilities, but the acts seem to be so randomly put together that the show feels very uneven.
A couple of the best acts are Jason Byrne and Anthony Gatto. Byrne is a magician that offers up some wonderful sleight of hand magic. He is charming to watch and has enough charisma to engage the audience.
Gatto is a juggler without compare. I have seen a multitude of jugglers and was amazed at how far above and beyond this performer was able to take this art.
All of the acts have something special to offer and each of them deserves their moments on stage. "Ovation" may have a few kinks to work out in the flow of the show and the particular selection of the acts, but it is modestly priced and a good entertainment value.