August 23, 2007

Absinthe (boo!) vs. La Vie (HOORAY!!!)

Filed under: PolenBabble — Twin C @ 9:56 am

As you may have read, PSB and I went to Absinthe last Saturday night, and last night we went to La Vie. For both shows, we were expecting a Cirque du Soleil like experience, but this was only the case for one of them. The difference between the two shows was astounding. Absinthe had amazing acrobats/arialists - there was a two woman arial routine on a large metal square hung from the middle of the tent that was fabulous, and they also had a roller skating team who twirled around in circles in the middle of a tiny platform, which was AWESOME. The rest of the acrobatic acts were excellent as well. But for some reason, Absinthe was hosted by a “comic” named The Gazillionaire, with his sidekick, a ditzy redhead named Penny. The Gazillionaire was nothing but obnoxious and crude the entire time he was onstage, and apparently that’s his shtick. It’s a lousy shtick. He took great pride in making fun of/humiliating various audience members, some of which were obviously uncomfortable. At one point, he kept trying to pressure some poor guy to let him hump his head, and the guy refused, over and over. It was really awkward for the rest of us in the audience, and distressing to me personally. I thought Penny had a bit of a funny routine at one point, where she went off on a fantasy of some crazy sex with one of the acrobats. For the most part, however, they did nothing for the show. There was also supposed to be burlesque, and it may be the fact that I’m straight, but watching a bunch of guys get their clothes ripped off does not even come close to burlesque, nor does watching some guy pretend to eat out the bottom half of a mannequin for five minutes, nor does watching a guy and a girl in matching sweatshirts/sweatpants mock hump each other. There was also a singer, who I really liked at first, but by the end of the show got rather grating. At one point he chose to sing a gospel song - who wants to hear a gospel song in the middle of what’s supposed to be a sexy Cirque-esque show? Like the songs he chose, the entire show just felt disjointed, with a wide range in quality of performance. I’d see something I’d really like, and then two minutes later see something I hated. It was not the show I wanted it to be, the show I had heard so many amazing things about last year.

I left Absinthe highly disapointed, and I would have been pissed if I had paid full price for it - I got a discount on the tickets, which were still rather expensive. . . I was hoping that La Vie would make up for it. Fortunately, it more than did. Everything that I was hoping for in Absinthe was more than abundant in La Vie. La Vie was an actual show, with a theme, that we had all entered Purgatory and were on line to have our lives looked at by the host, a charming French gentleman who played with the audience, but was kind and charming and actually funny. The acts were built into the theme - the way that different people lived their lives was the way they were presented on stage, and their acrobatics became a part of it, whether it was the man who lost the use of his legs when he had a plane built out of shoddy materials and subsequently crashed with it, or the woman who had gone mad, and danced on and around her hospital gurney while tied up in a straight jacket, which she danced in and out of as well. One of the characters was a new arrival - he literally fell through the ceiling to arrive. He and the host build on their relationship as he figures out where he is and what’s going on, and in a joyous celebration at the end of the first act, the two of them perform the most amazing diabolo routine I have ever seen - tossing the top, tossing the control sticks, passing back and forth instantaneously, grabbing the top with the strings in the blink of an eye - it was just phenomenal. The second act was just as alluring, my favorite part being a ukulele fueled “bullfight” between the host and the “new guy”, a tango routine involving three different woman, all dancing as their personalities (my favorite being the crazy woman), and a dance routine involving the host and his forbidden love, an extremely flexible woman, who was often above his head and then on the floor in the blink of an eye. It was just fantastic. It was everything I had wanted, and it was what Absinthe was supposed to be.

The weird part is, La Vie is so much the better show, and the tickets are cheaper!

Here’s links to both shows, but in my opinion, skip Absinthe and don’t miss La Vie!!!

Absinthe

La Vie

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