by Terri D’Richards
Included on many people?s ?If you only see one show in Vegas see this one? list, ?O? delivers as a classic Cirque production where theater, circus and surrealism combine on a lavish scale with breath-taking results. The title ?O? derives from the French word ?eau? (pronounced ?oh?), meaning ?water?, the show?s central theme — from tiny droplets to torrential downpours.
A 1.5 million gallon pool forms the centerpiece of this production, entertaining audiences in and of itself through an amazing series of technological transformations: from deep pool to shallow water to dry stage and back to pool again, playing host to one incredible act after another. A parade of esoteric characters cavort across the shifting landscape created by this one-of-a-kind stage construction. Try not to blink or you may miss some of the varied and subtle elements inserted throughout. And don?t overlook the upper, enclosed balcony areas to each side of the stage, which contain the live musicians and singers performing a suitably Cirquish (Cirque Du Soleil?s own ?language? of French-Italian sounding lyrics) musical score.
An opening synchronized swimming act gives way to a solo trapeze performance followed by amphibiously costumed acrobats executing their already-precarious maneuvers on a tiny ?island? in the middle of the pool. Other acts that leave spectators gasping are the high-flyers performing from aboard a giant ship moving pendulum-like above the stage, and the ?swinging? divers, who return later to hurl themselves off 60 ft perches far above the pool, inspiring well-deserved gasps from the audience.
The production cleverly also includes an antithetical balance to all the aquatics by offering up a well-placed set featuring water?s polar opposite ? fire. Audience members sit transfixed by the death-defying skill of Hawaiian fire dancers building a crescendo to the unbelievable sight of a ?burning? man. An eventual segue back to the show?s water-centric form proves the only way to cool down from this intense performance.
As the family of 6 a couple of rows forward proved, ?O? deserves the Cirque reputation for mass appeal entertainment. Not only does the non-verbal format of the production eliminate any language barriers for enjoyment, but the 4 children ranging from age 6 to 16 all appeared equally poised on the edge of their seats, along with Mom and Dad. Not surprisingly, the night?s performance ended with a standing ?O?vation!
Performances nightly 7:30 & 10p, dark Mon & Tues — be seated 30 minutes prior to showtime to catch the watery clown play inside the ?O? theater
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