Laughternoon, starring Adam London (CLOSED)
EFX Alive, starring Rick Springfield, playing inside the EFX theatre at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, is probably the best version of the show yet. Springfield does a very good job as the EFX master, and the show moves along at a strong and lively pace. This is a huge, and often times awesome show. The sets, lights, effects, music and dancers are all wonderful.
The show has always been about seeing really big sets and special effect, with dancing and singing. The problem with past versions of this production has been the attempt to force a weak and thin story onto the show in order to tie the segments together. This attempt at making this production into a deep and meaningful experience never worked. This attempt caused the producers to lose sight of what this show was really about--the effects. The story never worked, always required extensive narration to explain, and only served to destroy the pace and energy of the show. Even with all of the narration, the story was still convoluted. Thankfully, the story and narration have been eliminated. The show is tied together by the effects themselves, and now, at least, there is the opportunity for the production to have a little more fun.
Rick Springfield does a good job as the EFX master. He has rid himself of a lot of the pretension that has come with this role in the past. As the master, he simply states that we will visit the amazing worlds of four great men, and we are off on our journey. Springfield surprised me. He carries the production and the singing a lot better than I thought he would. He has a nice charisma and a good stage presence. He relates to the crowd very well, and is not above poking fun at himself.
The dancers are great--they always have been, but now, they have shed many of the bulky costumes that shrouded them in the mystical aspects of the production. We get to see the dancers dance a lot more than we used to. They enliven us as we watch them.
It is, in fact, amazing to watch all of these large set pieces be created, changed, and moved before our eyes. Video, and other multi-media effects, help make the transitions smooth and interesting. Everything about this show is big--big sets, big sound, big theatre, and tons of lights. The size and scope of this production can be over-whelming.
For as large as the EFX theatre is, they tend to cram audience members into the space and seat them in close quarters at small tables. There are bad seats in this theatre--those at the extreme sides, and those at the back of the auditorium. The views from these seats are not necessarily blocked, but they do not offer a good perspective of the show.
There are many things that are wonderful about this production--the lights, the sound, the sets, the effects, the dancers, and the star. It is not a deep, meaningful experience; but the show is a lot of fun to watch, and it is often awe inspiring.