"Cheval" is back and again playing under a big hand painted tent that is set up between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio Hotels. This exploration of the relationship between humans and horses is sometimes wonderful and sometimes tedious. The show is brought to us through the efforts of the Director of Creation of Cirque du Soleil, Giles Ste-Croix. This touring show features a variety of horses and people in a celebration of equestrian and human potential. The production only plays through Jan. 5.
"Cheval" came to Las Vegas at the same time last year as well. At that time, the show was just getting started and had some problems. The show has been improved since last year. Things have gotten a lot tighter.
Being allowed to walk through the stables and see the horses up close is a great experience. The performance of some of these horses and people are indeed amazing. The biggest problem with "Cheval" is our own expectations of what a show brought to us by the creator of "O" and "Mystere" should be. What we are used to with a "Cirque" show, is usually something so grand and spectacular that it exceeds our expectations, and often times goes beyond our imaginations. We usually sit back and are awed and stunned. This production is a technical and spectacle step backward. The emphasis is on the horses and the people, and it is this relationship that is explored in this production.
There doesn't seem to be enough variation through the production, however. Once we have seen a horse-vaulting act; three more horse-vaulting acts don't really deepen our appreciation of the art, it simply causes our attention to wane. It seems as if we spent the evening waiting for that big and truly spectacular act; which unfortunately, never came.
The production takes place inside of a large hand painted tent. It is beautiful to look at, but not so comfy to be in. As the temperature drops outside, it gets cold inside the tent. The seats are small and tightly packed together, and yes, there are porta-potties. It is the charm of a big top, but it is also the inconvenience.
On the positive side of the production, the horses are beautiful. The people are beautiful. The costumes and lighting are excellent. There really isn't a bad seat in the tent. You get a good view from where ever you are. When you first come into the venue, you get to go through one of the stable areas. You get to see all of the horses up close as they are being prepared for the evening. It is interesting and edifying. It is wonderful to see all of these beautiful animals.
"Cheval" is not going to be for everyone. It is slowly paced and there is a lot of repetition throughout the evening. If, however, you love horses; then you should definitely find the time to make it over to the production. The strength and grace of the horses in combination with the artistry of the people is worthwhile, but make sure that you go expecting to see a horse show and not a "Cirque" show.