Erotic, Funny, Breathtaking – What do you bring to the show that has everything?
Paul Carr of “The Huffington Post” once said that if he could only see one show in his life, he would want it to be “Absinthe” at Caesar’s Palace. With its mix of bawdy burlesque, R-rated comedy, and mind-boggling acrobatics, it’s easy to see why. For all its cheeky humor, “Absinthe” the show 2018, is not messing around – this team came to bring the “Wow!”
It bodes well that “Absinthe” is set in a circus tent, anachronistically pitched in the Roman Plaza at Caesar’s Palace. Walking through the folded openings of an old-school Spiegeltent to see, lit by lantern light, several stages in the round with a soaring acrobatic truss overhead, it’s easy to be transported. Sure, you may be seated in a folding chair, but make friends with the edge of that seat. You’ll spend much of the next ninety minutes right there.
The show kicks off with an impressive display of an acrobat, dressed as a waiter, balancing wooden chairs into a stack some twenty feet in the air. After a brief solo routine atop this rickety tower, a character called “The Green Fairy” (a reference to the titular beverage) descends from a rope swing, dressed in feathery wings and a sparkling emerald bikini, to declare to the waiter “What a wonderfully large erection you’ve built! What’s a girl to do with all that wood?” Then she sings “Slice of Heaven” and strips down to nipple pasties, and we’re off to the races.
Every cabaret needs an emcee, right? “Absinthe” has a doozy in “the Gazillionaire,” a greasy John Waters-lookalike who supposedly paid for this whole show, “owns” all the performers, and crams more cuss words and dick jokes into one minute than I ever thought possible. He wastes no time ragging on the audience, picking on race, sexuality, attire, political affiliation, and anything else he can pick on. He is assisted by his sister, Joy, a mousy girl-woman in glasses and a Velma haircut, who talks in a toddler’s whine while managing to be just as dirty. Joy can’t stop fiddling with, reaching under, or lifting up her frilly skirt. It’s so wrong, but so funny.
The Gazillionaire’s heckling goes on for so long that he almost overplays his hand … before crowing “So whaddaya say? Wanna see some more cool sh*t?” (Audience cheers.) “On with the f***ing show!”
From there we get a tandem trapeze display by two female acrobats in schoolgirl outfits; two tightrope-walkers with another tightrope strung between their shoulder harnesses, upon which a third tightrope-walker perches; a hunk in soaking jeans who does a solo suspension act from a clawfoot bathtub (what is it with “sexy acrobatics” shows and clawfoot tubs?); and a fairly traditional but still impressive pole dance. More nipple pasties are revealed, along with top-notch acrobatic talent. A standout is the “Skates of Hell” act, where the male and female performers start out in a priest robe and a nun’s habit, before stripping to trunks and lingerie and performing an incredible tandem display on roller skates, whipping around in circles on a small stage with no guardrails. It’s sexy with a real whiff of danger.
The audience participation peaks when the Gazillionaire invites a random female audience member to sit onstage and receive lap dances from two random men in the crowd; she has to judge which one is better. Elsewhere, though, the show turns surprisingly romantic, during a tandem suspension act choreographed to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. A male and female acrobat make beautiful shapes in the air, often coming within a hair’s breadth of a passionate kiss … or a passionate contact of another kind. This show is obsessed with oral sex. At least, the Gazillionaire is. But what are you gonna do? He paid for all this sh*t, right?
Verdict: There are cabarets, variety shows, and sexy circus acts galore in Vegas, but “Absinthe” by Spiegelworld at Caesar’s Palace 2018, melds all three into one rowdy, sexy, and irreverent display of acrobatic talent. If you can only ever see one show on your Vegas trip, strongly consider this one … but only if you came to Sin City expecting some sin.