Entering the Absinthe world from the casino at Caesar’s Palace, one is transported to a 19th century carnival/tavern type atmosphere. Antique artifacts from the late 1800’s decorate the walls, the color palette is natural woods and rusting metals, and the lighting is low. The liquid inspiration of the show’s title is offered immediately to all show-goers, giving the first indication that this is not a typical circus performance.
The second indication occurs when upon entry to the tent, rather meaty characters are seen sitting in trapezes eight feet overhead. They neither swing nor do acrobatics; rather, they just decorate the equipment with their bohemian presence.
The third, and definitive, sign that this is not going to resemble the circus mega-productions that Las Vegas has become accustomed to, is the greeting from the MC of the show, “If you aren’t comfortable with [certain four-letter expletives], you’re at the wrong [expletive] show!” Indeed, it was a honest warning of the bawdy raunchiness of the show to come.
Individual acts in the show include burlesque, hand balancing, banquine (team aerial acrobats), trick roller skating, trapeze, high wire, silks with chains, and spoofs of other circus’ exotic aerialists. The guest performers were highly skilled and did incredible feats on such a small stage. The audience bravely remained seated despite the risky acrobatic acts happening almost in their laps. The acrobats perform at a world-class level, clearly on-par with those at the bigger permanent circus show down the street. This is the most up-close circus experience one may ever have, and it is truly breathtaking!
Adult-themed banter and messages permeated the show, which were hilarious to some and shocking to others. Race, sexual orientation, politics and a certain-other-circus-company were all fair game for the hosts’ caustic and outrageous humor. Not a show to ignore the dramatic potential of acting out porn with puppets, Absinthe hosts dove in with gusto.
Absinthe is a ‘circus of the grotesque’; a rough-edged, potty-mouthed, intimate version of the circus mega-spectaculars that have taken over Las Vegas. It reveals to us the gritty, bizarre, acrobatic performance art that exists in the dark corners of society’s underbelly. And it’s not to be missed.