Review Of Laughternoon, starring Adam London

Updated 02/01/2013

Laughternoon, starring Adam London

By Chuck Rounds

"Zarkana," by Cirque du Soleil, is playing in the showroom at the Aria Resort and Casino. It was brought in from Radio City Music Hall to replace the floundering "Viva Elvis." To quote from the PR on the show, "[It] is a visually stunning modern acrobatic spectacular set in a world where physical ability meets with the extraordinary. Zarkana is a visual vortex set in a twisted acrobatic fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and craziness give way to a true celebration." It is a good description of the show...however, in a town that is replete with Cirque shows, it just doesn't stand out.

I take full responsibility for my underwhelming response to this problem is that I've just seen too many Cirque productions for this one to be special. It is beautiful. It is spectacular. The performers are outstanding...just like every other production, and this one isn't even bolstered by a specific theme or story. It is a really good basic Cirque show.

Now, one the one hand, if you haven't seen a Cirque production before...this one will make you fall in love with Cirque. It has everything that one would want, i.e. the acrobats, jugglers, clowns, trapeze, etc. On the other hand, if you've seen most every Cirque show multiple times, then sadly, but with a few exceptions, it becomes a generic experience; (another acrobat, another clown, another trapeze, and even another "Wheel of Death.")

I know that my familiarity has bred this contempt, and I am greatly saddened by it. How is it possible to not appreciate the talents of these people? Have we finally reached the saturation point with Cirque productions? I have specifically and intentionally made this reaction and review very personal because I think that response to this show is going to be radically different and directly dependent on how much exposure you've had to Cirque productions.

For example...I thought that the clowns in this show were the worst I've seen...least original and least funny. They relied on humor of the lowest common denominator. ...and other people loved them.

The one act of true note was the sand painter. She was amazing. With just the sand on a glass surface, she creates one beautiful image after another. The fascination of this creative process was mesmerizing, and the way in which one image morphed into another was absolutely wonderful. Of course, now I wonder if this act were put into four other productions would I lose interest. Again...I hope not.

I keep blaming myself for the shortcomings of this show and not Cirque itself, but perhaps there is some blame to be shared... Cirque du Soleil is one of the most successful production companies in the world with gigantic resources of time, money, personnel, facilities, etc. They have huge productions running all over the world. And with all of that, you couldn't come up with something different?